The body of a kidnapped student was found on Tuesday buried on a former councilman’s farm in the rural area of Yacopi in central Colombia.
A body fitting the description of 23-year-old Humberto Villate Sarmiento, who was kidnapped on November 9, 2012 was found during the course of an investigation which has already resulted in the arrest of five people including a former local politician.
The young man was allegedy tricked by a former employee of his father’s to go into the countryside to search for a secret stash of money. The kidnappers supposedly intended to extort over $2.7 million dollars from the victim’s father who would reportedly “pay anything for his son.”
The kidnappers claimed to be members of the FARC guerrilla 26th Front and contacted the family with the ransom demand and sent photos of the industrial engineering student with his neck and hands chained. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, investigators later proved that the “common criminal organization” had no links with the leftist insurgents.
Convinced that they would not receive any money, on November 27 the kidnappers reportedly murdered Villate by shooting him in the face at close range and then cutting open his stomach to keep the body from bloating ensuring that the “earth wouldn’t rise.”
Among the five accused of the kidnapping was Jose Obdulio Cruz, who sat on the council of Yacopi between 2008 and 2011 as a member of the Green Party. The camera that was used to take the “proof of life” photographs was found on the former politician’s farm where it is thought the student was kept. The former councilman’s brother was also arrested but later released due to irregularities with the arrest process. He is still implicated in the atrocity. All the accused denied all charges.
Although Villate was murdered on November 27, the kidnappers continued to request money from his family until February 14.
According to reports, the kidnapping was ordered by Jorge Ernesto Pulgarin who organized it from jail and also gave the order for the young man to be killed.