In Tenerife

Police struggle to identify burnt body found on remote track in Arona

Update 11 February: It’s proving difficult to identify the body, because the fire has even made it impossible to obtain fingerprints sufficiently clear to check against existing records. Police sources say they don’t even know the dead man’s nationality.

Police say they have not given up on the possibility of identifying the body, but the task is complicated in the extreme. Even DNA or dentistry identification would need family members or previous records to check against, and given that they don’t even know if he is Spanish, they are facing an uphill struggle. What is now clear is that police are taking the drugs mule theory for granted.  DA

Update 8 February 5pm: The autopsy results indicate that the man did not die a violent death. This does not rule out the drug-mule theory, which police are said still to be considering a possibility. They are still working to identify the victim.  PV

Update 8 February: This doesn’t get any less horrendous. Following the autopsy, police sources say that one main theory they’re considering is that this poor man was smuggling cocaine into Tenerife inside his body, and that having died of an overdose after a bag burst, his contacts here cut him open to retrieve his cargo and then set him alight to dispose of the evidence. The poor soul still hasn’t been identified.  DA

Update 7 February 18.30pm: An autopsy is being carried out on the body, now said to be that of a man. The judicial authorities have declared the case sub judice, and so there has to be press silence for the moment. As soon as further information becomes available and it is allowed to be reported, I’ll update.

Original post 7 February: A truly horrendous story, this, I’m afraid.

The body of someone who has still not been identified was found around 7.40pm last evening on a remote farm track known as the Camino de los Castellanos in Arona. Whoever it was seems to have had their hands tied together, and the body was found completely burnt. In fact, a woman who was driving along the Túnez-Valle San Lorenzo road saw what she thought was a bonfire. She stopped her car to investigate and realized that what she was looking at was a person on fire. San Miguel bomberos had to use around 100 litres of water to put out the flames.

Police are apparently investigating blood stains at the place to try to identify the victim, and piece together what on earth happened. One line of enquiry is that the person was already dead when their body was taken to the area and set alight, but enquiries are still at an early stage. It is still not even known whether the body is that of a man or a woman, and for that matter, police say that an autopsy will be carried out, and they can’t formally confirm the body is human until that point. The investigation is being conducted by the Guardia Civil’s Policía Judicial at Playa de las Américas.  PV

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Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
December 2014
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