March against gender violence in Quito, Ecuador.
Letty Cando’s crime has aroused the indignation of Ecuadorians. The feminicide confessed to having raped her, stabbed her three times in the heart, cut her body into seven pieces and buried her in a swampy area of Guangüiltagua Park, north of Quito, in the early morning of September 3. It is the latest case of gender violence in Ecuador, in a country that has accumulated 362 crimes against women so far in 2023. The young nurse, 33 years old, worked in a hospital south of Quito. Last Wednesday, the institution’s social worker reported her disappearance because she had not gone to work for three days, and Letty “was a very responsible professional and they had not had any communication with her,” she described in the complaint, where she left the names of a friend of the victim who he had gone out with that night.
Letty met Jhonny Caiza that Saturday through other friends in a bar, according to the versions collected by police investigators. Around midnight her friend felt bad and she left the place, but the party continued at the perpetrator’s house in the Bellavista sector, which borders Guangüiltagua Park, a modest home that is in a ravine. “There are videos from security cameras in which it is seen that Caiza carries Letty to his house, the results of the tests will tell us if he drugged the young woman,” explains Galo Muñoz Robalino, deputy director of Investigation of Crimes Against Life, Dinased.
While Letty was unconscious in the confessed murderer’s room, the rest of the men continued drinking in the street for a few more minutes. Around two in the morning, Caiza went up to his house and an hour later he made four trips to Guangüiltagua Park. “On each trip he carried a bag on his back, it took him 22 minutes to go and return, except for the last trip in which he also carried a shovel and it took him an hour and a half to return home,” says Muñoz. This evidence was decisive in having a confession from the man, that when he was detained by the police “he found himself cornered and accepted that what he was carrying were the parts of Cando’s body,” adds the investigator. The detainee said that he raped her and that then he stabbed her three times in the heart and cut her into seven pieces.
The murderer gave the exact place where he buried the body of the young nurse who was originally from Loja, a province in the south of Ecuador, where her eight-year-old son lives with his grandmother. Investigators found the dismembered body that the 30-year-old locksmith had cut with precision. “I have never seen a crime like this, the criminal profile is not common, but it exists. We were amazed by the way he wanted to hide her body, the orderly way he buried her,” says Muñoz.
The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into Johnny Caiza, who is detained for involuntary disappearance resulting in death, but the crime can be reformulated to femicide, which is punishable by 34 years in prison, while more evidence is collected about the murderer, such as testimony of one of his nieces, who said that he had raped her since she was nine years old. The investigators found other evidence such as Letty’s purse in her house, remains of her burned clothing, but also other pieces of women’s clothing from which genetic material will be extracted to find out if there are other victims.
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