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ARGENTINA | 25-06-2024 11:36

Bullrich cancels trip to Paraguay after meeting over child's disappearance

Security Minister cancels trip to Paraguay after meeting with police official from neighbouring country; She will instead travel to Goya, close to where five-year-old Loan Danilo Peña went missing on June 13.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich has cancelled a scheduled trip to Paraguay that had been previously announced by her team and instead will travel to the Corrientes Province city of Goya today as the search for missing five-year-old Loan Danilo Peña ramps up.

According to government sources cited by the Noticias Argentinas news agency, Bullrich changed her agenda at the last minute after a meeting on Monday with Nimio Cardoso, head of the Anti-Kidnapping Department of the Paraguayan National Police.

Cardoso travelled exclusively to Argentina to meet with Bullrich, who had said in public remarks that Loan may have been trafficked across the border to Paraguay.

After her meeting with Cardoso, Bullrich understood that for now it was not necessary to travel to Paraguay, government sources said. She will now travel to Goya, where the federal courts investigating the case are located.

The trip comes as fears over the whereabouts and safety of five-year-old Loan Danilo Peña intensify. 

The youngster was last seen on Thursday, June 13, close to 9 de Julio, near the district of Gota, Corrientes. 

Loan had travelled out to the countryside with three adults and three other children, who then lost sight of him. 

A large search operation failed to turn up any sign of the youngster.

Investigators were probing rumours he may have been abducted and trafficked across the border into Paraguay. 

“It is one hypothesis that the child is there,” stated Bullrich on Monday.

But Paraguayan authorities played down reports the child had crossed over into their territory. 

Late Monday night it emerged that Bullrich had sent a message to all staff at her portfolio requesting that they not speak publicly about the case.

Judicial authorities in Argentina are focused on the human-trafficking angle but are still working under the hypothesis that the child got lost in a nearby orange grove and got separated from the main group.

Three adults – his uncle and a couple – have been charged with abandonment and were arrested last week.

Four others – a municipal official, her husband, a former naval officer and a local police chief – have also been detained as part of the investigation.

Government sources told the Noticias Argentinas news agency that Bullrich is keeping President Javier Milei, who is returning from the Czech Republic after his European tour, updated about the case.

The sources said that Milei had asked his minister to "do everything" to find Loan "as soon as possible."

 

– TIMES/NA

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