Santiago CancinosAge 14
3 Jun 2021
Vaqueros, Salta (Argentina)
Santiago's skeletal remains were found on 3rd June 2021 alongside National Route 9. He had disappeared on 16th May 2017.
Yesterday afternoon, a man was occasionally driving along National Route 9 when he found skeletal remains on the side of the road, at kilometer 12.5 near the La Caldera river in the town of Vaqueros, Salta. He immediately called the police, who arrived shortly afterwards. Throughout the night, investigators worked under the hypothesis that it could be Santiago Cancinos, the 14-year-old trans boy who had been missing since May 16, 2017.
The confirmation came this Friday: from the Public Prosecutor's Office of Salta they communicated that the remains indeed belong to the minor, of whom nothing had been heard for more than four years.
The criminal prosecutors Mónica Poma and Santiago López Soto and the director of the CIF, Pablo Rivero, indicated that the dental expertise determined a 100% match. The same was carried out with the dental records of Cancinos, granting certainty of his identity. On the other hand, some articles of clothing, despite their deteriorated condition, were recognized by the teenager's parents. In the next few days a genetic comparison will be carried out in order to finish verifying his identity.
In the statement, prosecutors referred to the minor by his birth name, [deadname] Cancinos. This is how it appeared on the website of the Missing Children organization and also on the official page of disappeared persons of the national government, which came to offer a reward of one and a half million pesos for anyone who provided information on their whereabouts. Prosecutors clarified that he was mentioned according to his legal name at the time of the disappearance, without ignoring the validity of the Gender Identity Law, in relation to his self-perception. For Javier Cancino, Santiago's father, the name was indifferent: he just wanted to find his son.
The discovery took place in an area that is very difficult to access, since it is a slope of more than 80 degrees and covered by weeds. It is located a few kilometers from the Bicentennial Park, where the minor had been last seen.
On the afternoon of May 16, 2017, Cancinos said goodbye to his father to go to a physical education class at the Belgrano school in the capital of Salta. The man offered to take him to school in the car, located relatively close to the house, in the macro-center of the capital of Salta. Santiago said no, he wanted to go on his own. The father insisted but there was no case. They greeted each other and were never together again.
Despite the organization 100% Diversidad y Derechos requesting that the prosecutor continue the investigation under the hypothesis of a hate crime, Santiago's death was ruled a suicide and the case closed in early July 2021:
The judicial investigation into the death of Santiago Cancinos, the 14-year-old trans adolescent from Salta whose remains were found on June 4 in a rugged area of the town of Vaqueros after four years of searching, was closed yesterday as a suicide by the Prosecutor's Office.
"The case has already been closed and the remains were handed over to the parents because it was concluded that it was a suicide and that there was no crime," a source from the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Province of Salta told Télam.
Tests carried out on the remains found allowed investigators "to rule out signs of violence" and, although the mechanics of the death could not be determined, the hypothesis is that it was by hanging with a rope found at the scene alongside the belongings of the adolescent.
Investigators concluded that Santiago took his life on the same day of his disappearance - May 16, 2017 - and in the same place where his remains were found.