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David Romo: A Bizzare Disappearance

David Romo

David Romo was a 21-year-old student, he lived with his mum Alexandra Córdova (his parents are divorced), and attended Universidad Central, he was studying social communication. David is characterized as a very sensitive and friendly individual.

Thursday 16, 2013: David Was Normal

According to everyone in his life, friends, classmates, teachers, and family, this was an ordinary day for David and he behaved, as usual, there was nothing off about him that day. He went to University, after classes he hung out with some friends, had some drinks with them, and then led the way home. As always, he took a bus.

The Call

At around 10:22 p.m David called his mum, now this wasn’t extraordinary, since he would always let her know when he was getting near to the station and she would pick him up. Nonetheless, on this occasion, Alexandra claims her son sounded nervous and was speaking in a very low voice, nearly whispering.

He told her that there were two men with him on the bus, he said they looked like cops and that they wanted to take him off the bus, he didn’t elaborate much more. The final thing David said to her was: ”We’re getting close.”, then he hung up. Worried, Alexandra went to the station as quickly as she could and waited for him, but David never arrived. The family reached his friends and girlfriend but none had heard from him since that night. His mum then reported him as missing.

The investigation

The initial investigation managed to recognize the exact bus David took that night and concentrated on three main suspects: the bus driver, the bus counter (the person in charge of collecting the bus fee), and the bus counter’s assistant. When asked about that night, each suspect gave a different version. One claimed David was sleeping, that they woke him up and he got off, other than David was never asleep and got off at a different bus stop. After some investigation, the police discovered David’s cellphone in the bus counter’s bother’s house, when queried, this man, referred to as Edgar M., said he had ”found” the cellphone in the bus and given it to his brother. Edgar M. was then sentenced for theft and served one year in jail. In all the articles I read, there is no mention of whether any of these men ever mentioned the two supposed cops. I didn’t discover any reference to there being any more passengers that night either. Searches were carried out in the regions near the bus route but they came up empty.

The Union and Hope ”Clinic”

In November of that exact year, the police raided a clandestine clinic in Pisulí. I’m not very aware of that part of town, but seemingly, the region was part of the path the bus was supposed to follow the night David vanished. Anyways, police said they had received advice, saying David Romo was or had been in that ”clinic”. This place operated as some sort of rehabilitation center for alcohol and drugs addicts as well as a camel (a place where animals are killed and cut up, more or less like a butcher shop). Seventeen people were being held there and several contended they were electrocuted, starved, and urged to work in the canal as a form of ”therapy”. One person, named Juan Francsico E. claimed to have noticed David inside the clinic. The clinic’s owners, Carlos Lodoño, his wife Blanca, a Colombian man named Arvey Acevedo (a.k.a Jaleo), and at least two other people were charged with the disappearance of David but also faced charges associated with human trafficking and other violations. One news article mentions that ”a female worker for the justice system” with ties to the ”clinic” had also been imprisoned but I couldn’t discover more details about this person.

Based on Juan Francisco’s testimony, those five people were charged with David’s killing. According to Juan Francisco and the prosecution, David was brought to the clinic, during a search some drugs were discovered under his bed, he was then beat up and Jaleo was murdered with an ax. His corpse then was dismembered and burned with a blowtorch until there was nothing left. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that Juan Francisco has altered his story numerous times, at first he said he had seen David but didn’t mention any killing and at some point even rejected all of what he had said. Besides his testimony, no physical evidence associating David and the ”clinic” has been discovered. On August 23, 2018, all the defendants were acquitted from the charges relating to David Romo. Jaleo, nonetheless, was convicted for the killing of one of the ”clinic’s” ”patients” and received 22 years. In 2017, it was reported to police members from the police unit in Pisulí were being investigated, allegedly they were familiar with the ”clinics” existence, its activities but didn’t take action. I couldn’t discover what the result of this investigation was.

As of today, the case is considered open and has been assigned a new prosecutor. This prosecutor requested new searches in April of this year, but again, nothing was discovered and Alexandra complained these searches were carried out in the exact regions the first investigation had looked into.

Aftermath

Alexandra Córdova funded the David Romo Foundation, which is conducted to give support and resources to the family of missing people. She also has a Twitter account where she often posts any updates about her son’s case. Since the beginning, Alexandra has argued about the police’s work, citing the validity that they have never attempted to track down David’s last call. She has said she believes the police is somehow involved in David’s disappearance, when she and her lawyer requested the preliminary prosecutor and detectives be investigated, the judge looking into this petition received some frightening messages. Ultimately, she says she doesn’t believe Juan Francisco’s story, saying her son never had any issues with drugs.

The individuality of the two mysterious men David claimed to see on the bus that day has never been found out. I discover it very differently if they were cops, what were they doing on a bus? Anyways, this is the case that made me suspicious of taking a bus late and hopes you find it interesting.

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