Seventeen-year-old Daiana Garnica has now been missing for nearly a year. She disappeared May 6, 2017, from the city of Alderetes, in Argentina’s Tucumán Province, after telling her mother she was going to accompany her neighbor Darío Suárez, to buy a gift for his mother and was asked not tell anyone because it was a surprise.
Her family believes she has been kidnapped by a trafficking ring. A petition by her sister, Sonia Garnica at change.org was started yesterday and already has
8000 11,000 signatures. The sister says that Darío deleted the messages but they could see them on Daiana’s phone. They believe he could not have done it alone, that he must have had accomplices. They say the local authorities “always put sticks on the wheel in the investigation, with false leads and disappearance of evidence” and they are now asking for a search at the national level.
A month after the disappearance, the independent press was calling it “another disappearance covered up by the patriarchy”. Initially the police tried to discredit the complaints filed by Daiana’s father and brother, but finally kidnapping specialists started to examine the evidence, after relatives and neighbors made roadblocks in front of the neighborhood and marches to the Courts and Government House of Tucumán, and as a result of pressure from the Marita Veron Foundation. There was evidence from cell phones and several notes, including one that that said that investigators “would not find it easy” to find Daiana. Police arrested 12 suspects and the Garnica family lawyer, Sergio Perez, confirmed that Suárez had a history of gender violence, injuries and threats against almost all the women he had any relationship with.
The organization of Self-Conveying Argentinas (Argentinas Autoconvocadas) collected donations to bring a team of dogs to the area. The canines picked up a trail near the Salí River, fifteen minutes from the city. They also found Daiana’s belongings and a piece of cloth with blood in the brickyard where Suarez works. on the same day that Daiana disappeared, the kiln was used again after months of inactivity. The prosecutor has suggested that Suárez assaulted Daiana, then murdered her and disposed of her remains by burning.
Three months after the disappearance, Julieta Jorrat, legal defender of Suarez and at least 10 of the accused in the case, tried to have them released and the case dismissed, saying the prosecutor Bonari did not have a judges authorization of a magistrate for the arrests that day. Bonari had received the complaint for the disappearance of Daiana on Sunday May 7, and tried to immediately have a series of raids, but says neither judges Víctor Manuel Rougés and Marcelo Mendilaharzu, nor the secretary Carlos López, would authorize the raids. He did them anyhow. Her father, Ramón Garnica, believes his daughter was sold for trafficking, that she is being held for ransom somewhere, that she is still alive.
Eight months later, a local news source observed 1/11/2017 that “they marched in Tucumán for Santiago Maldonado, but they forgot about Daiana Garnica and Milagros Avellaneda”. Santiago Maldonado was a tatoo artist who disappeared during a indigenous rights protest, which was covered by the BBC News, which noted “Maldonado’s disappearance has become highly politicised ahead of Sunday’s congressional elections.”
But they did march for Milagros Avellaneda and her son, in Plaza Independencia, a year after their disappearance. Milagros Avellaneda and her 3 year old child Benicio disappeared on October 28, 2016. The last thing the Avellaneda did with her cell phone before disappearing, was to sent two audio messages to a girlfriend, saying she had run into Carlos Rejas, who was hitting her. Rejas, a 30-year-old prison guard was arrested and charged in the case.
In March 2018, a new Office for the Search of Missing Persons was officially opened in Tucumán, to allow a search to begin immediately to locate missing persons, without a requirement to wait 48 hours.
For International Women’s Day in March 2018, there was no celebration, instead the women marched for their rights. The march was organized by a collective of women from #Ni Una Menos, (not one more disappeared), Juntas y a la Izquierda, and Mujeres del MST (Movimiento de Trabajadores Rurales sin Tierra de Brasil), and included .women from 57 countries, groups, collectives, networks, unions, student centers, political parties and NGOs. The main demands are: the decriminalization of abortion, visualize the feminization of poverty and implementation of the Emergency Law on Violence against Women (Ley de Emergencia en Violencia contra la Mujer). In addition to the usual issues and slogans, the fight against femicides and the wage gap, “safe, legal, and free abortion” and “If we stop, the world stops”, this year the march also focused on the Trans Labor Quota Act; the disappearance of Daiana Garnica, and Milagros Avellaneda, justice for Paulina Lebbos and the dismantling of trafficking and prostitution networks, and clandestine abortion and the mafia behind it