Sofía Herrera: the judge said that finding her is "an act of hope and commitment"

Sofía Herrera: the judge said that finding her is "an act of hope and commitment"

Sofía Herrera at the time of the disappearance.

The Fuegian judge who is in charge of the case for the disappearance of Sofía Herrera, of which this Wednesday marks the 14th anniversary, assured that finding the young woman today is “an act of hope and commitment that we all have.”

Since 2017, Daniel Cesari Hernández has been investigating one of the greatest mysteries in the contemporary history of Tierra del Fuego: the whereabouts of the girl who was 3 years old in 2008, when he disappeared in the middle of a deserted area in a campsite located 60 kilometers south of Rio Grande Citywhere he had gone to spend a Sunday in the country with his parents.

“We have spent five years investigating every piece of information that reaches the court. Luckily the social commitment is still intact and people continue to provide clues. We try not to give up.” said the head of the Court of Instruction 1 in dialogue with Télam.

According to the judge, there are no longer any test measures that can be carried out in the territory where Sofia was last seen.

“When we took over we did a complete review of the file. We took testimonials again. We carried out a two-day operation in a rural area, where we even brought an expert geodesy engineer and a magnetometer. I paid for part of the expenses myself,” explained Cesari Hernández.

The key to that procedure was the testimony of a boy who was at the John Goodall campsite the day Sofia disappeared. (now Camping Norte) on September 28, 2008 and stated that he had seen a man take the girl.

Reconstruction of how Sophia would look like over time
Reconstruction of how Sofia would have looked over time.

In the process of reviewing the proceedings, the judge quoted him again, ten years later, and the boy repeated the same version, even providing a description that allowed the experts to draw the suspect’s face.

That’s how you got to the track José Dagoberto Díaz Aguilar, who is nicknamed “The Virgin Scares”a man of Chilean nationality and nomadic customs, who wandered through rural areas of Argentina and Chile.

“They still haven’t found it. Interpol is looking for him with code red. We don’t know if he is alive or dead either, because the pandemic was in the middle. Finding it is something that is out of our sphere of possibilities”, explained Cesari Hernández.

hypothesis and research

Since the consolidation of this track, Fuegian justice investigates Sofia’s disappearance with two hypotheses: that someone has taken her and she is still alive, almost 18 years old, without knowing about her past, or that someone has killed her.

In fact, “Espanta la Virgen” is wanted to be investigated for the alleged crime of “aggravated homicide”, they confirmed in court.

“The law is not mathematics. There are many variables, many possibilities. We have to wait for something new and keep trying, “said the magistrate.

In all these years of investigation there were dozens of girls and young women similar to Sofia who were investigated and collated their filiation data to know if it was the disappeared Fuegian, always with the same final result.

However, the latest data emerged in March of this year from information collected by the Complex Crimes Division of the Fuegian police caught the attention of María Elena Delgado, Sofia’s mother who had also received the same complaint.

She is a young resident of San Juan, with an enormous physical resemblance to Sofía.

“Unfortunately, that possibility was ruled out by the court. The people close to that girl presented the documentation on her origin. We had requested a DNA test but they did not consider it necessary, “Delgado said in dialogue with Télam.

Mother of Sofa Herrera asking for justice
Mother of Sofía Herrera asking for justice.

About, Cesari Hernández clarified that until now Delgado had not formally requested (through his lawyer Francisco Ibarra) the realization of the DNAalthough he gave details of why the researchers did not take this measure into account until now.

“The girl from San Juan was adopted in April 2006, that is, two years and five months before Sofía disappeared, when she was 15 days old. We examine the birth certificate and fully review the adoption process established in the Civil Registry of San Juan. Everything was done in a regular way, ”said the judge.

He also said that “Although in other cases DNA testing has been requested, that is when there are doubts about the documentation. This is not new, we have been analyzing it since March. For us what is presented is enough”added the magistrate.

However, Delgado insisted that “from day one we asked for a genetic analysis. I think the case calls for it. So I asked the Minister of Security, Aníbal Fernández, in a meeting that I had these days and authorities of the Federal Search System for Persons (Sifebu)”, replied the woman.

“The last times I wanted to meet with the judge, I couldn’t do it. When I went to see him, he was busy and then I came back, before traveling to Buenos Aires and he was busy too. The same thing happens to me with the prosecutor in the case, Laura Urquiza. I haven’t talked to her in years. I have no contact, “said Sofía Herrera’s mother.

Sofia’s case became an icon of the disappearance of people in the country, which led to the development of an emergency protocol for similar situations (called Alerta Sofía) and led the national authorities to put into operation an exclusive telephone line to collect data (08002227634) in addition to the website

This Wednesday, On the 14th anniversary of the disappearance, there will be a mobilization of relatives and neighbors in the city of Río Grande.

  • Specialized attention on the rights of children and adolescents

  • By free and confidential call to Line 102.
  • If you are a victim of family or sexual violence, call the Line 137.
  • If you can’t communicate look for the childhood areas of your province.

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