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Dad seeks justice for slain son in broken Honduras
After the funeral, Wilfredo drove to National University, where his wife worked, to see Julieta Castellanos, the president of the university. She had also lost a son, shot by police at a roadblock last year, and had become a fearless critic of police impunity. Her advice: gather evidence and then contact the prosecutor’s office.
Days later, Wilfredo and his wife took a drive through the hilly outskirts of the capital, past the sleazy love motels and run-down auto shops, looking for a vehicle that fit the description given by the witnesses. On their third trip, around midnight on Saturday, they stumbled upon an army checkpoint near the alley where their son was killed.
The vehicle matched. It was a bulky Ford pickup. Four-door. A rare sight in Tegucigalpa.
Wilfredo’s wife stopped the car, and he quickly snapped a photograph, not thinking about the flash. Soldiers walked over and told him to turn over his camera.
Wilfredo was terrified, but thought fast. “It’s my hobby to collect photos of unusual vehicles,” he told them. They let him go with a warning.
It had been a week since his son’s death on May 26, but Wilfredo already had witnesses, two bullet casings and a photo of the vehicle.
He had a case.
On Monday morning, Wilfredo filed a complaint, sitting down in the office of the head prosecutor, German Enamorado, instead of waiting for a call. He wanted answers.
Enamorado was impressed by Wilfredo, and if it was true that soldiers had shot and killed a high school student, well, that was abominable. Enamorado assigned two prosecutors to the case that same day.
The prosecutors, however, did not have a car. The state prosecutor’s office was a crowded cluster of desks and columns of stacked files. There were six prosecutors, a staff of investigators, and one car for the lot of them.
Wilfredo offered to drive.
The first stop was at army headquarters to collect the incident report for that night. After several failed attempts, an officer told them they had to file a request in writing. Two days later, they got it.
The army’s report for the night of May 26 said a man on a motorcycle fired on the soldiers at the checkpoint, but got away when the soldiers pursued him. Wilfredo’s son was armed only with a cellphone.
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