A Venezuelan man claims that his son, jailed in 2015, was killed and eaten by other inmates during a prison riot.
Juan Carlos Herrera said that 25-year-old Juan Carlos Herrera Jr., who was in jail for robbery, was murdered by other inmates during a month-long riot at the Tachira Detention Center, Fox News reports.
Herrera Sr. said that a fellow inmate who was with his son when he was murdered told him what had happened.
"My son and two others were taken by 40 people, stabbed, hanged to bleed, and then Dorancel butchered them to feed all detainees," said the father. Dorancel "people-eater" Vargas is a notorious prisoner who has been behind bars since 1999 for cannibalism.
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"The [inmate] with whom I spoke to told me that he was beaten with a hammer [in order] to force him to eat the remains of the two boys," he added.
"Two [inmates] are missing. They cut them up and fed them to several [of the fellow inmates], they made the bones disappear. Dorancel cut the flesh," said a police source who wished to remain anonymous.
Iris Varela, the minister of correctional affairs, confirmed that Herrera Jr. had disappeared, but said that claims of cannibalism in the prison were untrue, adding that Herrera Sr.'s claims were "easily debunked."
Venezuelan Prison Observatory coordinator Humberto Prado said that cannibalism is not unheard of in Venezuelan prison riots. Protests have become increasingly violent in Venezuelan prisons as a result of the country's economic crisis which lead to food shortages and overcrowding within facilities.
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"Prisoners have been dismembered before and some inmates have forced other prisoners eat their [own] fingers. That happened in a detention center in El Tigre," Prado told Fox News Latino. "But inmates die not only from that [kind of violence], there are many prisoners who die of hepatitis, cirrhosis or famine."
The mutiny at Tachira, which started in September and lasted for a month, began when inmates took eight visitors and two guards hostage, demanding that some of the prison's 350 inmates be transferred to another facility. Tachira Detention Center only has the capacity for 120 inmates, according to the Mirror.
Herrera Sr. expressed grief that he could not give his son a Christian burial.
"I beg you to give me at least one bone so we can bury him and relieve some of this pain," he said.