Bodies found in Bolivia may be missing French: official

3rd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The bodies of a man and woman recently found in northeastern Bolivia may be the remains of two French tourists who disappeared in the region last year, a senior Bolivian official said Saturday.

Forensic experts were studying the remains in order "to determine, through DNA analysis, whether or not they correspond to the two missing French nationals," Attorney General Mario Uribe told reporters.

Uribe said the tests should be able to determine whether the bodies are those of Jeremie Bellanger, 25, and Fannie Blancho, 23, who went missing in August 2010 in an remote Amazonian region of the country known as a lawless area with drug trafficking and high crime rates.

The couple was last seen on August 29 last year in the town of Guayaramerin, a city of some 47,000 people on the border between Bolivia and Brazil.

Prosecutors last October charged a Bolivian man with kidnapping and murdering the pair.

The suspect, Jaime Martinez, is believed to have befriended the French couple after they met at a nightclub in Guayaramerin.

Investigators say Martinez invited the pair back to his dairy farm, where he is alleged to have killed them.

Last year authorities said Blancho may have been raped before likely being murdered.

Investigators said they collected evidence including human hair caught in barbed wire from Martinez's farm.

© 2011 AFP

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