A fourteen-year-old boy has been found shot in the head in the City neighbourhood of Palermo after being missing for two days, with police investigating reports he may have been kidnapped and held for ransom.
Argentina’s Federal Police are investigating the circumstances leading up to the discovery of the teenager, who has only been identified as Benjamin. They are yet to rule out a potential suicide and believe an extortion call that was made to the child’s parents may not necessarily be linked to the teenager’s disappearance.
Benjamin was found seriously wounded in the early hours of Monday morning and was rushed to the Ricardo Gutiérrez Hospital, where he underwent surgery upon arrival. Police spokespeople said he was in a very serious condition and was in a coma.
The young man, a student at the Lengüitas school (Escuela Normal Superior en Lenguas Vivas Sofía E. Broquen de Spangenberg), had been missing for more than two days. He was last seen last Friday as he left his home to go to classes, though he never arrived at the institution.
The search for the teenager began Friday evening and his image quickly spread on social media. The boy's family received a threatening call over the weekend, informing them that he had been kidnapped. They reportedly said he would be freed if a ransom of 80,000 pesos was paid.
Later, in the early hours of Sunday morning, the teenager's father received a call, allegedly made by the boy. In a broken voice, the teenager said he was in a place with a large number of stones, according to reports. No other details of the call were provided.
The Federal Police intervened and carried out an intense search, which ended early Monday morning when the young man’s body was found with a gunshot wound to the head close to the Club de Amigos sports club, a few metres from the Belgrano Norte railway tracks and Saldías station. Police also found Benjamin’s mobile phone and a .22-calibre revolver.
According to spokespersons linked to the investigation, the boy had been shot in the temple and the bullet had no exit wound.
As for the alleged extortion threat, it is known that the call came from the Florencio Varela neighbourhood, an area that includes a prison. Police believe opportunists, who took advantage of the publication of the family's phone number on social networks, may have made contact as part of the efforts to find the boy developed.
by Adrián Rodríguez, Noticias Argentinas