- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2003

SANTIAGO, Chile — A retired Chilean air force officer has been charged in the 1973 death of a U.S. journalist that inspired the 1982 film “Missing,” directed by Constantine Costa-Gavras and starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.

Court sources said retired Col. Rafael Gonzalez Verdugo, 64, later a retired security officer, is the first person formally charged in the 1973 killing of Charles Horman, executed in the early days of Gen. Augusto Pinochets dictatorship.

Col. Gonzalez was arrested Wednesday on the order of Judge Jorge Zepeda, who is handling a criminal suit filed by Mr. Hormans widow, Joyce Horman. Other indictments are expected to follow, said her attorney, Sergio Corvalan.

According to court papers, Mr. Horman a 31-year-old political cartoonist and free-lance reporter then living in Santiago was arrested on Sept. 17, 1973, two weeks after the bloody coup led by Gen. Pinochet. He was taken to Santiagos main soccer stadium, which had been turned into a detention camp for suspected leftists.

Mr. Hormans bullet-riddled body was found in a common grave in a Santiago cemetery in 1994, but Mr. Corvalan said the American was not one of those killed at the stadium.

An official report by the civilian government that succeeded Gen. Pinochet in 1990 stated that hundreds were detained and tortured at the stadium and at least 48 were executed there, including several foreigners.

Mr. Horman and a colleague in Chile denounced CIA activity during the presidency of Salvador Allende, who was toppled in the coup.

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