A 12-year-old Nicaraguan boy in Guatemala was thrown off a bridge for refusing to kill a stranger, the Mirror reports.
A group of thugs ambushed Angel Ariel Escalante Perez while he was walking home from school. They handed him a gun and gave him a heartbreaking choice: shoot a bus driver or be killed, according to Fusion.
Angel, whose father Luis Escalante was a bus driver himself, refused and told them to take his life instead.
Then, the thugs gave him one last choice – they could throw him off a bridge, or they could chop him up with machetes. He chose the bridge.
The thugs threw him 443 feet off the Incienso Bridge, one of Central America’s longest bridges. Angel landed in thick brush below, where he miraculously survived. His family found him 72 hours later and rushed him to the hospital; however he died in the hospital 15 days later from his injuries, according to the Mirror.
There is a chance that, if he had been found sooner, doctors could have saved him, they said.
"The father of the child said his son had been gone for 72 hours and told him that six alleged kidnappers threw him off because he refused to kill a bus driver,” said Guatemalan firemen’s spokesman Javier Soto. "The child was asked how he would prefer to die - whether it would be through stabbing or by being thrown off a bridge - and he chose the latter. The fall was from 135 meters. Usually people who jump or are thrown from there do not survive."
According to Edgar Guerra, local human rights activist, these crimes are increasing. Guerra speculates that one reason for this is that the parties involved do not want to be charged with crime if they are caught, reports the Mirror.
Latin American gangs often recruit young children with low levels of education and poor backgrounds, because they can smuggle drugs and guns more easily than adults, and because, if caught, they would face a lax prison sentence. In Guatemala, the maximum prison sentence for a child who commits homicide is only six years, whereas the same crime can earn an adult up to 25 years, according to In Sight Crime.