El Salvador ex-cop had 14 victims buried at his home garden

Chalchuapa, El Salvador: A team of forensic specialists on Thursday took out the remains of at least 14 people murdered and buried in the home of a former police officer who became a gang leader in western El Salvador.

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Clad in full biosafety gear, the team entered the home of ex-cop Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chavez for their grisly work in the town of Chalchuapa.

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Justice and Security Minister Gustavo Villatoro said that at least 14 bodies had been found buried separately at Osorio Chavez’s home.

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The ex-cop was detained on May 8 as the main suspect in the murder of a woman and her daughter, after neighbours alerted the authorities.

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This led to police entering his home, where they began uncovering bodies.

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Villatoro said that DNA samples were being collected from area residents who had a missing relative to see if it matched with any of the bodies.

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The ex-police officer’s home, which faces a sugar cane field, was blocked off by police, preventing reporters from entering the area.

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Forensic criminologist Israel Ticas told AFP that digging will continue in other parts of the property, and estimated that the task could take more than a month.

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On Wednesday a local judge ordered the arrest of 11 people linked to Osorio Chavez. The accomplices were accused of aggravated femicide and aggravated homicide.

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In 2020 tiny El Salvador, population 6.5 million, ended the year with 1,322 homicides – an average of 20 per 100,000 inhabitants.

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The figure is nevertheless significantly lower than 2019, and the lowest since the end of the country’s bitter civil war in 1992, according to official figures.

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