Detainee was at scene of Argentina tourist murders

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One of the men arrested for the July murder of two French tourists in Argentina's Salta province has confessed he was at the scene of the crime, his lawyer said Saturday.

After DNA evidence linked 24-year-old Gustavo Lasi to the sexual assault of one of the victims, Lasi made a statement to police about his version of the events, said his lawyer Horacio Morales.

Two French student tourists, 24-year-old Houria Moumni and 29-year-old Cassandre Bouvier, were raped and shot dead around two weeks before their bodies were found on July 29, according to the Salta authorities.

Their bodies were found along the walking tour at San Lorenzo Creek in a nature preserve in northwestern Argentina, where they were on vacation.

Though Lasi's semen linked him to the sexual assault of Moumni, DNA tests show that Bouvier was raped by several assailants before being fatally shot, a law enforcement source told AFP Wednesday.

"With such a mixture of DNA it was impossible" to determine the identities of the individual rapists, the source told AFP.

Officials, however, are still awaiting results from DNA tests on strands of hair that were found in the hands of one of the victims, presumably from one or more of the rapists.

Ballistics evidence had already shown that a rifle belonging to Lasi was one of two weapons used in the murders, according to the police.

Lasi is among eight suspects detained in the killings, none of whom have yet been charged with any crime.

The double murder has shocked residents of Salta, an otherwise quiet city of 650,000 that depends heavily on tourism.

© 2011 AFP

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