The remains of an Argentinian man who disappeared earlier this month may have just turned up in the stomach of a shark that was captured by local fishermen.
Diego Barría, 32, father to three children, went missing on Feb. 18 after riding around the southern Chubut province of Argentina on his all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Barría’s ATV was found two days later on a beach near Rocas Coloradas badly damaged, but there was no sign of the man.
An intense search was carried out to locate Barría, but no substantial headway in the investigation was made until Sunday morning. Two fishermen reported to the coastguard that they had reeled in three school sharks close to where Barría’s ATV was located.
While the fisherman were cleaning the sharks, “they found human remains in one of them,” said Daniela Millatruz, the law enforcement officer in charge of the investigation.
Barría’s family members were called in to see if they could identify their loved one, and Millatruz said they recognized him “due to a tattoo that appeared in one of those remains.”
Officials are still investigating the circumstances of Barría’s death, but the hypothesis that investigators are working with is that Barría had an accident on his ATV at the beach, and was pulled into the ocean by a strong tidal surge that occurred during the weekend he disappeared.
“We presume Diego had an accident,” Millatruz said, “and we’re investigating if there was a vehicle involved.”
The school shark in which the human remains were found measured around 1.5 metres, according to Cristian Ansaldo, head of the police department in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia.
Ansaldo says that police will follow up with DNA testing to officially confirm the remains belong to Barría.
Virginia Brugger, who identified herself as Barría’s partner, had been posting on Facebook about his disappearance in the run-up to the discovery of the remains. On Sunday, she posted: “My heart went with you! I love you forever,” alongside a photo of the pair.
— With files from The Associated Press