Arrival of the body to the morgue. Photo via Telam

Criminal forensic experts began today the autopsy on the body found in the Chubut river on Wednesday, kicking off the process to gradually answer the questions that have the country collectively holding its breath: whether it’s Santiago Maldonado (if he’s not, a whole lot of other questions will arise, but for the sake of conciseness we’ll focus on the ones that will need to be urgently answer should it be Maldonado); when did he die; how; whether the body was in the river for the 78 days he was missing; what was the role Border Patrol played and whether someone in the government knew about it among many, many others.

There’s still not a precise timeline of the different results, but we do know that the 20 experts representing the six different parties involved in the case will first task themselves with determining the identity of the body. According to press reports, the method used to do so will depend on its state of preservation. One of the fastest ways would be to determine whether the fingerprints match Maldonado’s, but that might not be possible.

However, the most precise method consists on checking if the body’s DNA matches the 28-year-old tattoo artist. Carlos Vullo, director of the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology’s genetic lab, told press yesterday that “determining the profile could take three or four days is we use a sample of soft tissue,” or “a week to 15 days if the samples are of hard tissue, such as bones or teeth.” The samples will be contrasted with profiles extracted from Maldonado’s family members.

When entering the morgue, Alejandro Inchaurregui, expert representing the family, told press to lower their expectations, as “there’s a chance that there won’t be any results today.”

Inchaurregui entering the morgue. Photo via Telam
Inchaurregui entering the morgue. Photo via Telam

Regardless of the identify, experts will continue with the autopsy to get more information on the cause of death. According to press, they could issue a preliminary report 72 hours after – on Monday – and then determine what steps to take based on that. For example, if there’s mud on the body, they will need to identify if it matches with samples from the Chubut river.

We will continue reporting the results as they are announced.

Carrió Feels “Abandoned” By The Political Community

Cambiemos co-founder and National Deputy, Elisa “Lilita” Carrió had been sailing through the campaign to renew her seat in Congress representing Buenos Aires City. She got almost 50 percent of the vote in the primaries and was set to only improve her performance this Sunday. Even her opponents admitted she will win by a landslide and have already began competing for the remaining votes.

This triumphant mood, however, couldn’t be further away now. The two highly controversial statements she made this week in the context of the possibility that the found body is Maldonado’s caused a great deal of criticism from opposition leaders and the tattoo artist’s family. Chief between those two was the one where she compared the appearance of the body in freezing waters with the myth about Walt Disney being cryogenically frozen.

The comment was met with harsh criticism from political leaders from the opposition and Maldonado’s family and even though Carrió later apologized, explaining that she didn’t intend to trivialize the situation, her campaign team decided to cancel the TV appearances she had scheduled until Friday.

“I have the most intimate desire and will that there is justice for Santiago and I apologize from the bottom of my heart if I caused you any pain,” she tweeted.

However, the backlash continued, causing Carrió to go on Twitter again to say she feels “abandoned by the political world.”

 

“From the bottom of my heart, I forgive those who hurt me by perversely distorting my words.”

“May god enlighten you all to know where good and bad faith lies. I love you.”

“Even if the political world abandons you, God won’t abandon us even if it’s the end of the world. Let’s all pray for peace, non-violence and justice.”

This doesn’t mean Carrió will lose the elections in Buenos Aires City. She is still set to win by a landslide. However, we’ll have to see on Sunday night whether her statements impacted on the electorate as much as they did on the political landscape. It will also be interesting to see how she regroups after this, and whether it will be a fleeting controversy or if it will affect her relationship with the government and her vast popularity with its supporters.