The search lasted four years with special teams, dogs, hundreds of agents, drones. There were dozens of raking operations that did not lead to anything. On Thursday, a man and his son who were clearing a field came across the remains of a teenager who disappeared four years ago: Santiago Cancinos, a trans male.
Santiago, who on his DNI appeared with the name of Constanza Gala, disappeared on May 16, 2017 when was 14 years old and he went from his home in the capital city of Salta to a physical education class six blocks away.
The last to see him was an aunt of his, leaving the Bicentennial Park, in the north of the city.
I was going to Colegio Belgrano. The investigators inquired about his surroundings, his family, his contacts on social networks and the security cameras in the area. But they were unable to obtain a single piece of information to know what happened. The case became a mystery.
Parents Mónica Ovando and Javier Cancinos, during the search.
That is why the Ministry of National Security offered a first reward of 500 thousand pesos that in 2019 tripled to $ 1,500,000 for those who provided data on Gala, as it was sought during all these years. There were no results either.
On Thursday a truck driver and his son were to fulfill a promise. The man had asked the Deceased Correa for the health of his wife, who had suffered an accident that left her immobile, according to the site. What’s up jumps.
In return, he offered to weed the area located in the town of Vaqueros, on the side of Route 9, at kilometer 12.5, passing the Wierna river bridge.
When they were in the process of cleaning, the men saw the remains of what seemed a human skull and they notified the Police.
Eduardo Gallo, the truck driver who, together with his son, found the remains in the caves of Difunta Correa.
The agents confirmed that it was bone remains and the prosecutor on duty from the Serious Attack Unit of the Public Ministry of Salta, Leandro Flores, ordered the work in the place of personnel from the Fiscal Investigation Corps (CIF).
In the same area where the skull was, the researchers found a backpack and clothing. The evidence was transferred to the CIF Forensic Thanatology Service, where they were subjected to different tests to try to determine sex, age, date of death and other details about what happened.
The first indication that the remains belonged to the teenager came from a dental exam that matched his dental records. The confirmation came when his parents, Mónica Ovando (56) and Javier Cancinos (55), they recognized his backpack and his clothes.
A place of difficult access
In a press conference, the criminal prosecutors Mónica Poma and Santiago López Soto, together with the director of the CIF, Pablo Rivero, indicated that they will continue with tasks at the site of the discovery, which they characterized as very difficult to access, since It is a slope of more than 80 degrees and covered by weeds.
For his part, Rivero explained that “they worked quickly to collect the signs and cadaveric remains and, in a second phase, to be able to confirm the identity”, adding that “the dentist Pablo Medina intervened” in the expertise that allowed to confirm at “100%” the identity of the person found.
The caves of the Difunta Correa, in the town of Vaqueros, Salta, where the remains were found.
The expertise continued this Saturday at the site of the discovery. According to the newspaper The Tribune from Salta, researchers found a rope.
“The rope and the other kidnapped elements will be analyzed, at the moment it is not possible to speak of any hypothesis,” said the prosecutor López Soto, who at the same time mentioned that the victim “belonged to a boy scout group” and “had knowledge about any survival. “
On the investigation of the causes of death and the clues that the place of the discovery throws, he stated: “It is what we hope, unfortunately the passage of time conspires a little against some evidence but it will be the scientists, the experts who will determine based on some proof if we can know the true cause of death“.
In addition, a genetic comparison will be carried out with the bone remains found in order to scientifically determine their identity.
With the confirmation that the remains found in the caves of the Difunta Correa belonged to the adolescent, his father asked to give the reward money to the trucker who made the find.
“With my deepest regret, I confirm that they found my sweet and beloved son, and I thank all the people who accompanied these hard 4 years,” Cancinos posted on his Facebook account.
The search poster. Javier Cancinos demanded that the reward go to the truck driver who made the discovery.
The father considered that “it seems fair that the person who found me receives the reward, since not all the search or dogs that were brought were found and they were a few meters from the place”.
“Today my torn soul he only manages to thank that dad and his son, whom I would like to meet personally, “concluded Cancinos.
Before the consultation for the gender identity of the minor, which according to he perceived himself as male, the prosecutors indicated that she is now mentioned according to her legal name at the time of the disappearance, without ignoring the validity of the Gender Identity Law, in relation to her self-perception.
Request for Justice
This Saturday, feminist groups held a demonstration in the Plaza 9 de Julio, in the provincial capital to demand Justice and protested the delay that there was in the “first fundamental 48 hours” in the search for Gala / Santiago.
On the other hand, the Colegio Belgrano, which was attended by Cancinos, published a statement in which they expressed “deep sadness” at the news.
“We accompany the family in this harsh trance like four years ago (…) We make a vehement request to the Salta Justice, in whom we trust, so that we can have valid and necessary answers that mitigate the pain of the entire community, “they added.
And they concluded: “United by this pain, we raise our prayer to heaven for the peace of his soul and the comfort of his family.”