Six suspects in the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio are murdered in Guayaquil prison
The six Colombian suspects arrested following the August 9 assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio were murdered Friday afternoon in the Litoral Prison in Guayaquil. A police official who asked not to be identified said the murders were intended to keep the men from talking to investigators.
The national prison authority said the murders occurred at about 4 p.m. Friday in Pavilion 7 of the Litoral complex. Guards found the six bodies after hearing shouts from the pavilion’s recreation yard.
Following the removal of the bodies, 400 police and military personnel were deployed outside of the penitentiary.
The National Police command and the attorney general’s office announced Friday night that an investigation is underway to find those responsible for the murders and to identify a motive.
Following the report of the murders, a spokesman for the Villavicencio family demanded to know why the suspects were detained in the same area with criminal gang members. “How in Jesus’ name was this allowed to happen?” asked Carlos Jaramillo. “Why were these men not protected from the cartels that ordered the assassination since they are part of the investigation. What kind of corruption was involved that allowed them to be silenced?”
in a social media post Friday night, an unnamed member of the assassination investigation agreed that the murders were intended to keep the suspects from talking. He suggested “it is obvious that prison guards were bribed to allow gang members access to the six men.”
The post added that the interrogation of the suspects was “mostly complete,” and that the final interviews with the men were conducted last week. “These men are many levels removed from those who ordered the assassination and the information they provided about the operation was limited,” the anonymous commenter said. “I believe we had gathered all the information from them they were able to offer.”
The murdered Colombians were identified as Jhon Gregore R., Andrés Manuel M., Adey Fernando G., Camilo Andrés R., Sules Osmin C. and José Neyder L., all natives of Cali, Colombia. The men who were arrested on the night of Fernando Villavicencio’s murder, August 9, in raids carried out in the Conocoto and San Bartolo neighborhoods Quito.
Villavicencio’s assassin, Johan David Castillo, also from Cali, was killed by police at the crime scene.
Following news of the murders, President Guillermo Lasso announced on social media that he was cutting short his trip in the United Sates and would return to Ecuador. “I will return to Ecuador immediately and convene a security cabinet meeting to attend to this emergency,” he said. “Neither complicity or cover-up will be allowed in this case and the truth will be known.”