Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | November 2, 2010

The murder of Jenny, Yimi and Jefferson

The morning of October 14, 2010, the day 14-year-old Jenny was raped and murdered, she made breakfast, some plaintains, yucca, and agua de panela, and served it to her brothers, 9-year-old Yimi and 6-year-old Jefferson. Though Jenny appeared fragile because her tiny body was still a girl’s, she was often the first to rise. She had assumed the household chores since their parents’ separation two years before. The children lived with their father, 49-year-old José Álvaro Torres. As usual, that morning, José Alvaro left for his job as a day-worker in the farms around Flor Amarillo, in the municipality of Tame in Arauca province.

Following breakfast, Jenny swept the mud-floored hut and stashed the mattresses in which they slept against the wall. The children then bathed using totumas, dried coconut shells, in the Jaguey River’s yellow waters. Jenny and Yimi were on holiday from school; Jefferson was still too young to join them.

It was a good thing that today the two would not have to ride bikes or saddle up the donkey for the one-hour trip to the escuela Caño Martín: whispers spoke of landmines the FARC had left behind. And, for some days now, a mobile military brigade had set up camp five hundred meters from their house.

Jenny urged her brothers to come along, to help her gather wood for the fire.

José Alvaro returned in the afternoon and did not find his children. He asked his neighbors. No one had seen them. The next day, he saddled up a horse and called out, Jenny! Yimi! Jefferson! When neighbors heard the three were missing, a search committee spontaneously formed. But dusk arrived again and still, there were no signs of the children. So José Alvaro made the journey to the authorities to report his missing kids.

The chilling discovery happened by moonlight: Half buried in the ground, the search committee caught sight of a boy’s leg. Then, with the supervision of the Red Cross, they dug deeper and came upon Jenny’s flip-flop.

Jenny, Yimi and Jefferson’s bodies appeared beaten. They had been wounded with a knife or a machete. Semen was found on Jenny’s clothes.

Seventy military men associated with the nearby mobile brigade have been questioned. Blood stained the backpacks of seven of them.

One sentinel soldier says he saw another soldier carrying a machete leaving the camp that night. Hours later, he returned. Fidgety and anxious, he chopped his hair off and washed his clothes. He reportedly had a history of being a sex abuser.

Twenty children in Arauca have been murdered this year.

José Alvaro says he dreamed of Jenny, Yimi and Jefferson, “In the dream, I said to them, ‘hijitos, if I have done something wrong or if I was a bad father, forgive me. I know you are in heaven because you are angels.’”

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Responses

  1. Thanks!

  2. A military came forward, says he raped Jenny and another girl in the area, 12 days prior. But, he claims he did not murder Jenny nor her brothers.
    A handful of the soldiers have scratches on their bodies and skin was found under Jenny’s nails.


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