THE burned body of a missing schoolgirl was found just before Christmas after she met a man on Instagram who invited her to a pool party.
Florencia Romano, 14, was reported missing when she didn’t return home on December 12 after she told her family she was visiting a friends house in Argentina.
She met with a local butcher, Pablo Aranciba, 33, after he invited her to a pool party, enticing her with alcohol and claiming other people were also joining them.
Aranciba and his partner 27-year-old Micaela Mendez have been arrested for her murder.
Florencia left her home in Guaymallen and took a bus to the city of Maipu, in the Western Argentine province of Mendoza.
She had been in contact with Arancibia through Instagram and agreed to meet that day.
When she did not return home, concerned family members organised a search for the youngster and reported her missing to police.
It is believed she was killed after she fought Arancibia off and screamed as he tried to have sex with her, Cronica reported.
It is not known what role Mendez had in the crime.
Police confirmed the butcher has a criminal record for harassing teenage girls on social networks, including extorting money from them.
A neighbour heard screams coming from Arancibia’s property and called police, but an emergency service worker believed the call to be a hoax and cut the line, according to local media.
The audio recording was published showing the responder first claiming police cannot find the address, before saying “see you later, sir” and cutting the call.
The worker has since been suspended pending an enquiry by authorities, the head of the General Security Inspection, Marcelo Puertas said.
When the police quizzed Arancibia and Mendez, they claimed that the girl had attended his home but left in the afternoon.
He even assured officers that he had accompanied her to the bus stop, according to InfoBae.
However, Florencia was not seen on any CCTV cameras at any local bus stations and her travel card had not recorded any other trips.
The last message from Florencia’s phone was sent at 6:55pm to her friend, stating that she was at the bus stop.
But five minutes later the phone went dead – and has remained that way.
Police believe it was not Florencia who wrote the text message.
“JUSTICE FOR FLORENCIA”
Prosecutor Claudia Rios, who is leading the investigation, ordered a raid on the house where blood was discovered in one of the rooms.
They found the body of Florencia Romano several days later dumped in an irrigation canal in a remote area, near Arancibia’s house.
Her body was found wrapped in blankets and partially burned, in an effort to destroy evidence of the crime.
Reports suggest that a friend of Arancibia led police to the body, who claimed the butcher told him he wanted to discard the remains of a dog.
Preliminary reports said the victim had a broken skull and nose, as well as several other injuries to different parts of her body.
A coroner confirmed that the teenager had blows to the face and a deep cut on the neck, suggesting she tried to defend herself, InspiredTraveller reports.
Other reports claim Arancibia’s body was covered in scratch marks, which he said were from a cat.
The two suspects have so far declined to give statements and they will remain under arrest as the investigation continues.
The brutal murder of the 14-year-old has sparked massive demonstrations across the community, calling for justice for the teenager.
Led by feminist group Ni Una Menos Mendoza, they marched towards the Government House through the city centre.
Some protestors threw stones and set fire to the interior of the government building, but the womens rights group stressed they were not responsible for the incident.
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“They are a group of 20 or 30 people, many men. That they end up giving a message that does not serve the claim nor does it serve Florencia.”
The number of women killed in Argentina has reached a ten-year high under coronavirus restrictions.
According to United Nations, 12 women are killed every day in Latin America as a result of gender-based violence, of which the vast majority go unprosecuted.