By Emmanuel Dalbessio (Télam)- A man of Chilean nationality who disappeared in his country 22 years ago and was presumed dead is now wanted by Interpol Argentina after his family reactivated the cause by spreading a photo on Facebook that led him to Florencio Varela’s Buenos Aires party, where neighbors claim to have seen him.
Based on the statements of witnesses and people from the neighborhood, the family believes that Juan Fuentes Candia (53), last seen in Chile on February 24, 2000, could have been recruited by an organization that uses people living on the streets. to ask for money.
Judicial and police spokesmen told Télam that the search is being carried out by Interpol members of the Argentine Federal Police (PFA), at the request of the Chilean Justice, which reopened the case labeled in that country as “alleged misfortune”, which had been Shelved due to lack of items to investigate.
The news that could lead to finding the man led one of his sons – who was 9 years old when he disappeared – to travel this week especially from Chile to Buenos Aires to personally face the search and request the support of judicial and consular organizations.
The last time the relatives saw Fuentes Candia was when she packed a bag and went to work for a few days at a construction site that was being carried out in the foothills of the town of La Rufina, in the commune of San Fernando, from the O’Higgins region, located in central Chile.
Some time later, the man’s mother, having no news, contacted a co-worker who informed her that her son had quarreled with another worker and disappeared in the middle of the night.
As Fuentes Candia did not take his belongings or communicate again, the family thought that something could have happened to him after that fight or that he could even have been confused and lost and crossed the mountain range towards Argentina with the help of some muleteer.
Although the relatives filed a complaint and waited for the Justice to look for him, every June 18, the date on which Fuentes Candia celebrates his birthday, as well as on each anniversary of his disappearance, his relatives publish a photo of him with the physical description of the man and ask for help to find him in different search groups for people on the Facebook social network.
At 22 years old, last February, the family was hopeful with the receipt of several messages from different users who assured that a person with similar characteristics was living on the street in the Buenos Aires party of Florencio Varela.
According to those who provided data, that person is undocumented and suffers from a mental problem that makes it difficult for him to communicate.
However, two particular signs convinced those close to him that it could be Fuentes Candia: a burn he suffered as a boy on one of his buttocks and a problem in the little finger of his right hand caused by a ruptured tendon.
Upon receiving the images of the man on the street seen in Varela, the family was surprised by the coincidences in physical appearance and in the particular signs, and his son requested the Court of First Instance of San Fernando, in Chile, to reopen the investigation and that the Chilean Investigative Police (PDI) take charge of the investigation.
Research sources confirmed to Télam that in mid-April
Interpol from Argentina received a request from the Chilean police to collaborate in the search for Fuentes Candia.
For this, the PDI sent to the Argentine federal officers the fingerprint file of the wanted person to compare with the person indicated by the residents of Varela.
In an interview he gave Télam during his visit to Argentina days ago, Juan Esteban Fuentes Bustamante, son of the wanted man, said that the people who contacted him told him that he suffers from a kind of dementia, that he is undocumented and that the neighbors They call him “Daddy”.
They also told him that he usually moves around the area known as Cruce Varela, near a taxi rank, and that he sleeps in an ATM of a Banco Provincia branch.
Juan remembered that it was from the photos and videos that they sent him from Buenos Aires that he decided to save to come to the country to look for him.
“Seeing the photos we realized that he has the same physical features. One of her sisters cried when she saw them,” she recounted.
Last Monday, the son of Fuentes Candia arrived in Argentina and, with the help of a local journalist, he went to the place where his father was supposedly seen, although the neighbors have not heard from him for three weeks, although they believe that he should not be very far away
“We expanded the search to the town of San Francisco Solano, where they told us he could have gone,” said Juan, who, however, could not find him.
Currently, the search for the man has a yellow notification in the records of Interpol Argentina, whose Search and Whereabouts Brigade is in charge of the investigation in the country, the sources added.
“A man who claimed to be a policeman contacted us and warned us to be careful because in the Florencio Varela area there is a mafia that takes advantage of people on the streets and uses them to ask for money,” Juan, who also made a presentation in the Judicial Department of Quilmes to start a case for “whereabouts investigation”.
To ask for collaboration in the search, Juan also met with the Chilean consul in Argentina, Alejandro Bravo, who, he said, promised to provide assistance and closely follow the investigation in the country.
“We were in hospitals and at the police station, but they have no record. We think that he is still in those parts, they told us that he has been in that area for three years so he has to be close. It is the strongest data we had, they are concrete data, ”said the hopeful man.
“I would like to give you a good pass the time that follows. I want him to meet my children. My grandmother died looking for him, so I feel good because I think I’m doing something to find him”, she concluded.