Missing Mexican butterfly activist found dead

Missing Mexican butterfly activist found dead

The body of a renowned environmental activist has been found in a well in central Mexico two weeks after he went missing, officials say.

Homero Gómez, 50, managed a butterfly sanctuary in the town of Ocampo in Michoacán state, a region notorious for its violent criminal gangs.

His body was found with no apparent signs of violence near where he was seen for the last time.

Prosecutors are still investigating the case.

Rights groups had earlier said they feared that Gómez might have been targeted because of his fight against illegal logging, one of the activities that criminal gangs in the area are involved in.

Gómez was last seen in person attending a meeting in the village of El Soldado on the afternoon of 13 January, and his family reported him missing the next day. Relatives told local media the conservationist had received threats from an organised crime gang.

More than 200 volunteers had joined the search for the environmentalist and, last week, the entire police forces of Ocampo and neighbouring Angangueo were detained for questioning.

It was not immediately clear how the body was found. In a tweet, the Michoacán public prosecutor’s office said it had been taken for a post-mortem examination.

Gómez was a tireless campaigner for the conservation of the monarch butterfly and the pine and fir forests where it hibernates. The sanctuary he managed opened in November as part of a strategy to stop illegal logging in the area, which is a key habitat for the monarch butterfly.

In a video posted on his Twitter account shortly before his disappearance, he invited people to visit the sanctuary.

Since 2006, 60,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, many of them believed to have fallen victim to criminal gangs who kill anyone who could interfere with their illegal activities.

Courtesy: BBC