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Argentine Judge: Activist Died of Drowning, Not Foul Play


A woman walks past an image of Santiago Maldonado during a protest demanding justice for his death, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 1, 2017. The body of Maldonado was found near the site of a protest on Aug. 1, the day he was last seen alive.

Officials in Argentina say an indigenous rights activist whose disappearance and death captured the country’s attention did not die from foul play.

A judge investigating the case said Friday that an autopsy showed activist Santiago Maldonado had died by drowning, along with hypothermia.

Maldonado's body was found in a river 78 days after he went missing.

The activist disappeared August 1, the day of a protest that he participated in demanding the release of a jailed indigenous leader.

Witnesses said police beat and detained Maldonado after he and others blocked a road. Police have denied any wrongdoing.

The autopsy said there was no evidence of injury to Maldonado’s body.

Family members of Maldonado said they would keep up the pressure for an investigation into his death.

“With the information that was given to us today, we aren’t able to conclude anything. … We will continue to sustain our principal hypothesis that this was a forced disappearance followed by death,” Maldonado family attorney Veronica Heredia said.

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