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The desecrated body at the Barranco de Víznar mass burial site. Laura Gutiérrez
Thieves desecrate war grave to take gold teeth from skeleton in Spain
Crime

Thieves desecrate war grave to take gold teeth from skeleton in Spain

The University of Granada excavations team at the Barranco de Víznar site has called for a more effective surveillance system

Jorge Pastor

Granada

Wednesday, 1 May 2024, 15:28

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Forensic anthropologist Laura Gutiérrez was about to begin her day's work in grave 17 in Barranco de Víznar in Granada province at 8am on Monday 29 April when she noticed that the grave's protection - geotextile, planks and sacks - had been tampered with.

In fact, someone had entered the site the night before, where the bodies of ten people are being exhumed. The suspects had taken the maxilla bone and jaw of one of the bodies. Why? To remove eleven gold teeth from one of the skeletons.

The University of Granada team working in the Barranco de Víznar and headed by Professor Francisco Carrión, has reported the incident to the Guardia Civil in Alfacar. Carrión said, "It is not just the theft itself, but the fact that they have taken one of the three key bones for genetic identification."

The most reliable samples for identifying bodies ate the petrous, teeth and femur. "Not only were the lives of these human beings taken in the most ruthless way, but now we are prevented from knowing who they are."

Previous image of the same body that has been desecrated, showing the gold teeth.
Previous image of the same body that has been desecrated, showing the gold teeth. Francisco de Asís Carrión

The relatives of the victims have also been informed of what has happened. This is not the first time that something like this has happened at the war grave. Since the first dig in 2021 other objects have been stolen and a man has been attacked while he was laying flowers at the site.

The excavation team has pointed out that what happened on Monday is evidence of the need for an effective surveillance system. The request was also made to the minister for democratic memory Ángel Víctor Torres during his visit to Barranco de Víznar at the beginning of March.

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