Monday, May 27, 2024

ARGENTINA | 01-05-2024 10:26

Chaco: Cecilia Strzyzowski femicide case sent to trial

Former partner César Sena, his parents Emiliano Sena and Marcela Acuña, and four assistants of powerful local picket-leader, look set to face trial by jury.

Eleven months on from her shocking disappearance, the investigation into Cecilia Strzyzowski’s suspected femicide in Chaco Province has been sent to trial.

The case, which rocked politics in the northern region, was referred for oral trial proceedings by the special investigative team probing the missing 28-year-old’s death.

Juan Martín Bogado, Jorge Cáceres Olivera and Nelia Velázquez, of the EFE Special Prosecution Team of Chaco Province, on Tuesday deemed the pre-trial investigation over and a jury trial for the defendants.

Strzyzowski’s former partner, César Sena, is accused of carrying out the murder, which prosecutors say was aggravated by their relationship and in a context of gender-based violence.

His parents – powerful local picket leader Emerenciano Sena and politician Marcela Acuña – have been charged with being “necessary participants" in the homicide, a downgrade of their previous indictment as “co-perpetrators.”

Referencing the fact that investigators have been unable to fully identify Cecilia’s body and that her remains have not been officially found, the prosecutors warned that this “doesn’t preclude the indictment of the murder against Cesar Sena.”

“This conclusion is based on other solid evidence in the case file, backing the commission of the crime,” said the prosecutors in a ruling.
Explaining their reason for the change in indictments, the prosecutors said their motion for trial contained “a readjustment of the facts” after “a thorough analysis of the case.”

The charges can still be modified before an eventual trial.

Another four individuals –  Fabiana González, Gustavo Obregón, Gustavo Melgarejo and Griselda Reynoso, all assistants of the picket leader Sena Snr. – have also been indicated for their role in the alleged covering up of Strzyzowski’s death.

It remains to be determined whether these four will be included in the same jury trial, or whether there will be another trial for their respective cases.

Strzyzowski was last seen by her family on June 1, 2023, but security camera footage from the following day shows her entering the home of her in-laws outside Resistencia. 

Investigators say they have determined that she was murdered there and that her remains were incinerated. There are no images of her departing the property and investigators believed she was killed there.

Forensic examinations of bloodstained items seized during raids on the property by the National Gendarmerie (Border Guard) revealed traces of Strzyzowski’s DNA.

An intensive search of the surrounding area, including the waters of the nearby Tragadero river. Bone fragments were found, though forensic experts were unable to confirm that the remains were Cecilia’s.

“Given the extensive degree of charring, it is highly unlikely to retrieve genetic information from the skeletal remains,” an expert report submitted to the court concluded.




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