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‘My soul has left me’: Family mourns after El Salvador mass grave discovered

Jose de la Cruz, father of Mirna Cruz Lima and grandfather of Jacquelinne Palomo Lima and Alexis Palomo Lima, were killed by ex-police Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chavez on the grounds that authorities were digging a secret cemetery that was discovered at his home and containing many bodies. Most are believed to be women in Chalchuapa, El Salvador May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

In his wrinkled hands, Jose de la Cruz holds a tangled gold necklace adorned with hearts and pendants that spell out “love.”


This necklace belongs to his granddaughter Jacquelinne Palomo Lima, one of the suspects murdered by former Elsa Valdoran police officer Hugo Osorio in his home.

De la Cruz, 79, lost his daughter Mirna Cruz Lima and grandson Alexis Palomo Lima inside the house. according to the police report with the cruelty that shocked the Salvadorans.

“My soul has left me,” he said in an interview at his daughter’s home. The walls of the room were filled with diplomas and stacks of books on literature, physics, and medicine.

Alexis, a fourth-year medical student, was planning to travel to the United States to find work and buy a home for his family in El Salvador, Dela Cruz says.

The family raised $7,000 for the trip by mortgage de la Cruz’s home and contacted Osorio’s brother. who is accused of working as a human smuggler, de la Cruz said.

But nothing went according to plan.

After the family had sent the money, Osorio arrived at the store where Mirna and Jacquelinne worked, telling them that Alexis had been abducted. But he knew where he was being held. According to the account told to de la Cruz, he wouldn’t say who told him.

The two women then got in his car and traveled to his home in the municipality of Chalchaapa. Which is about 80 km (50 miles) northwest of the capital San Salvador, according to the report.

Police said that when Osorio led the two into the house, he killed Alexis and Mirna as Jacquelinne fled and ran down the street screaming. Osorio quickly caught her back and, after dragging her back inside, killed her, police said.

Neighbors heard screams calling the police. officials said

After the bodies of Mirna, Jacquelinne, and Alexis were discovered and Osorio was arrested, authorities found numerous graves with many more bodies.

Reuters was unable to obtain information from the Attorney General’s Office or the Department of Homeland Security as to the precise number of victims. The attorney general’s office said most of the victims were probably women.

El Salvador National Police Commissioner Mauricio Arriaza said Osorio was stripped of police 15 years ago after he was convicted of raping a woman and a minor. for which he was sentenced to five years in prison

Osorio is currently held in a maximum-security prison for the murder of two women and two men. Prosecutors have identified sexual violence as the leading theory for the killings.

Officials also pointed to the possibility of widespread collusion. Ten more people have been charged with killing nine women in a murder presumed to be related, along with four murders of the victims whose bodies were in the graves.

“I can’t judge him. It is God who will decide that day. both the living and the dead,” de la Cruz said.

Our Standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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