The popular Patagonian tourist destination of El Bolsón has been rocked by a gruesome discovery, after the tied-up dead body of a man suffering from signs of torture was found in its surrounding area.
The corpse, which investigators believe is that of a man aged around 35, was discovered on Monday by a neighbour in the Almafuerte neighbourhood of Loma del Medio, judicial sources in Río Negro told the Télam state news agency.
The hands and feet of the body were tied with wire, the sources said. The corpse also had burn marks and "signs of torture," most likely committed with a knife and burning hot objects.
Local reports said the body was found "in an advanced state of decomposition," in a "protected area of El Bolsón," from where the popular tourist location can be viewed.
Francisco Arrien, a local prosecutor in El Bolsón, said that a forensic analysis of the body and the crime scene had been ordered to determine the cause of death.
There are "visible signs of criminality," he told rionegro.com.ar.
In the meantime, local police officers have begun to take witness statements from local residents in a bid to find out more.
Those investigating the crime are working under the hypothesis that the man was killed with a sharp weapon while on his knees at the top of the ravine. The perpetrators may have then thrown the victim down the ravine in the hope it would be lost in the surrounding vegetation.
However, the body was caught up in branches in a location visible to those who reside in the area, judicial sources told Télam.
Investigators are also seeking to confirm if the death occurred at the crime scene, or if the body was transferred to the ravine to be dumped.
The corpse has now been taken to a morgue in Bariloche ahead of an autopsy.
"The only way to determine exactly who the person is, is through the genetic profile of their DNA," Arrien said in comments reported by local media. "Once we have extracted DNA from the body it will be checked with genetic databases."
Arrien also said that forensic exams will help explain further the circumstances of the death and may provide some clue about "the author or the authors" of the homicide.
"The autopsy is key because it will really tell us the cause of death," he said.
A report in local outlet lmneuquen.com said the body had a "tattoo of Gauchito Gil on his left chest," which investigators will use to try and identify the man.