Ecuador’s government announced on Wednesday that a 34-year-old lawyer who had been missing for 10 days had been found dead, marking the latest femicide in a nation where such deaths are common.
Maria Belen Bernal went missing on September 11 while paying a visit to her husband at the Quito police training school. Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo announced the discovery of her body on Twitter. Her body was discovered on a hill about five kilometres (3.1 miles) from the police training school.
“I deeply regret her death, a femicide that will not go unpunished,” Carrillo said.
President Guillermo Lasso, also on Twitter, vowed that Belen’s “femicide will not go unpunished and all those responsible will be subject to the law.”
According to her family, Bernal entered the police college to see her husband, Lieutenant German Caceres, who worked there. She then vanished.
Caceres also vanished two days after she was reported missing, setting up a manhunt and leading to his firing from his position.
The prosecutor’s office reports that since 2014, there have been at least 573 femicides in Ecuador, which has a population of 17.7 million people.
Authorities reported that a prosecutor looking into femicide and hate crimes was assassinated outside the Guayaquil public prosecutor’s office on Monday.
(With inputs from agencies)
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