See more from this Division: Third International Soil Forensics Conference
See more from this Session: Soil Forensic Oral Presentations: I
Tuesday, November 2, 2010: 4:15 PM
Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Regency Ballroom DEF, Third Floor
In 2007, the body of Cesar Vargas Betancourt was found in a clandestine grave on a ranch near Fusagasuga, Dept. Cundinimarca, Colombia. The Forensic Investigation Team (Fiscalía General) conducted a search and recovered material evidence from a tool shed that was approximately 300 m from the grave. Soil samples were obtained from several tools that included a standard shovel, a garden shovel, and a tamping tool. Soil samples obtained from these tools were sent to the Forensic Geology Laboratory of the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science (Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses) in Bogota for study. For comparison, exemplar samples of the soil from the gravesite were also included.
Officials requested a study to determine the geological characteristics of the soil samples taken from the tools for comparison with data from the soil at the gravesite where Betancourt’s body was found.
Forensic examination and description of the soil samples from the gravesite were consistent with descriptions of the soil samples taken from the tools in the shed. The accused, who is now in jail for 8 years, indicated that he was being blackmailed by Betancourt, and therefore, Betancourt was killed. There were also indications that the victim was connected with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), however, this was not substantiated.