Jorge Julio López

Argentine Bricklayer Disappears Before Testimony

Retired bricklayer Jorge López disappeared from his home on Sept. 18, 2006, only hours before he was due to testify in the trial of former police investigator Miguel Etchecolatz, a man charged with crimes in Argentina’s “Dirty War.” López, 77, has not been seen since.

During Argentina’s National Reorganization Process, López was kidnapped and tortured after being detained on Oct. 21, 1976. He was held in police custody without being charged with a crime until June 25, 1979, at which time he was released. This time spent in captivity made him a key witness against former members of Argentina’s military and police. He was set to name 62 former military and police officials in his testimony.

There were plenty of theories about what happened to López. One claimed he flashed back to his own time in captivity and wandered off. A second theorized he went into hiding for fear of retribution about his impending testimony. However, both ideas were discounted. Despite efforts by Argentina’s government, López was not found and remains missing.