30 Years For Murder Of Raped Girl, 9, Dumped In Street

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

This killer has been handed a 30-year prison sentence after admitting to strangling to death a nine-year-old girl who had previously been raped, and then dumping her body in the middle of the street.

Zenon Manzaneda Juchani, 42, confessed to the murder of little Esther after she was found dead in the streets of the city of El Alto in the western Bolivian department of La Paz on Sunday.

Her death has caused national outrage.

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Victim Esther, whose surname has not been reported, was taking care of her three-year-old sister at home whilst her mother Yola Cavillo was selling fruit in a market and had taken her nine-month-old baby with her to work.

Esther’s body was later found in the street with investigators confirming she had been strangled to death.

Spanish newspaper El Pais report prosecutors found Juchani had taken the victim from her home and fled the scene with the help of a taxi driver, however, it is unclear where she was strangled.

Local newspaper Urgente report Andres Flores, Director of the Forensic Investigations Institute, said an autopsy also found she showed signs of having previously been raped at an unspecified time before the murder incident.

Suspect Juchani, who lived close by, was identified after a 12-year-old local resident said they had seen him with Esther.

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The suspect then fled the city with the help of three alleged accomplices, including the taxi driver, who were later arrested and cops are working to see if more people helped him get out of the city.

Investigators managed to track him down and his arrest was announced by prosecutors as mother Cavillo was burying her daughter on Tuesday.

He was taken to the Special Crimefighting Force Of La Paz and a short trial later took place in which he confessed to the murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, Bolivia’s harshest punishment, local newspaper Pagina Siete report.

Milenka Gutierrez, the Instructional Judge of El Alto, ordered Juchani to be kept in the Chonchocoro Prison in La Paz.

Investigators are now working to determine if the killer was involved in the previous rape of the girl. Another four people have been arrested for giving false evidence to the police to try to slow down their investigation into the killer.

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Esther’s case caused national outrage and Spanish newspaper El Pais report Jessica Echevarria, the Director of the Citizen’s Network Against Child Murders and Sex Abuse, as saying: “Esther symbolised and represents a lot of girls in Bolivia living in poverty and whose mothers have to go out for work”.

Esther lived with her two siblings and her mother in a rented bedroom with no bathroom and local media outlet RRP report the family will now be looked after by a foundation.

Prosecutors said 32 murders of children were registered in Bolivia between January and 22nd June this year.

The investigation into the alleged accomplices is ongoing.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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