Argentina was rocked over the weekend by the news that a successful businessman had killed both his wife and himself at a country club in Pilar, Buenos Aires Province, in what investigators now believe was a slaying in cold blood.
Police were called to the Martindale Country Club private gated community on Saturday, October 10, following reports of a double shooting at a home at the country club. Upon arriving at the scene, they found the bodies of 73-year-old Jorge Justo Neuss, and his wife, 69-year-old Silvia Saravia.
First reports of the shocking incident emerged on Saturday, though the chain of events remained unclear. Initial reports all said that the business magnate had shot his wife, Silvia Saravia, before turning the gun on himself, though some said investigators were considering the possibility of a “suicide pact” as the cause.
That hypothesis was all but ruled out on Monday, however, when early autopsy results from forensic experts at the San Fernando Hospital concluded that Saravia had attempted to defend herself. The crime scene, according to judicial sources, also backs up that working theory that what took place was a murder, followed by a suicide.
"The hypothesis of a suicide pact is practically ruled out. The autopsy and what was seen at the scene make us think that Neuss surprised his wife when she went to the bathroom, fought [with her], dominated her by grabbing her hair, murdered her and then shot himself in the head," an unnamed judicial source confided to the Télam state news agency.
The autopsy confirmed that Neuss had killed his wife with a single shot to the head, concluding that a bullet from a .357-calibre magnum had entered above and behind the victim’s ear before exiting behind the left ear. Given Saravia’s position, it then entered the body again through the left shoulder before becoming lodged in the arm, according to reports.
The experts also found self-defence wounds on Saravia’s hands, with additional bruises on the left side of the female victim’s body.
One investigator confirmed to Noticias Argentinas that the crime scene backed up the theory that foul play was involved, while estimating that Saravia had died at some time between 11.30am and midday. They are now investigating the crime as a femicide.
Neuss still showed signs of life when paramedics arrived and was transported in an ambulance, though he died upon arrival at the Austral de Pilar Hospital, at 2.20pm. His body had bruises and defence wounds on his hands and forearms, with an injury from the gunshot which investigators believe killed his wife.
Prosecutors believe he shot himself through the right temple, in the dressing room next to the en suite bathroom, looking in the direction of his dead wife, Noticias Argentinas reported on Monday.
Investigators have taken witness statements from two domestic workers who were at the home at the time of the incident. Both said that they heard shots and after going upstairs, found that the door to the marital bedroom was locked.
Both employees say they then called the couple’s 35-year-old son, who resides at another property nearby. He forced the door open and discovered his deceased parents.
Neuss family name
The events at the Martindale Country Club shocked members of the local business community. The Neuss family name is well-known in Argentina, with the Grupo Neuss firm’s historical ties dating back 120 years.
Founded in 1881 by Jorge Justo's grandfather, Herman Neuss, it was originally active as the soft and bottled drinks business, under the company name of Soda Neuss Belgrano.
Under the leadership of Jorge Justo’s father, who had the same name, the firm became a group, moving into public-sector services and expanding further.
The conglomerate later moved heavily into energy and financial services in the 1980s under the leadership of the now late Jorge Justo Neuss, who became golfing buddies with former president Carlos Menem, and Germán Neuss, with the firm also moving into the real-estate business.
Today, the large diversified group continues to be led by the fourth generation of the family, with Jorge Neuss’ nephew, Georgie Neuss, said to play a key role.
Sadly, this is not the first homicide involving a married couple to have taken place at Martindale. In 2015, Fernando Farré murdered his wife, Claudia Schaefer, stabbing her multiple times. He was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment for his crime.