Argentina: DNA links suspect to tourist slayings

AP News
Posted: Aug 16, 2011 8:46 PM
Argentina: DNA links suspect to tourist slayings

Argentine investigators have DNA and ballistics evidence that implicates some of the eight suspects under arrest in last month's slayings of two French tourists, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

Investigators believe Cassandre Bouvier, 29, and Houria Moumni, 20, were raped and killed July 15 by a group of men who followed the academics from Sorbonne University up a popular hiking trail, the Quebrada de San Lorenzo, outside the provincial capital of Salta. Their bodies were found two weeks later.

Marcelo Baez, the court spokesman in Argentina's Salta province, said DNA from semen found in Moumni's body matches that of Gustavo Lasi, a part-time tour guide whose girlfriend was found with a camera and cellphone belonging to the victims.

Genetic testing is continuing with French government participation in the biochemistry department of the University of Buenos Aires.

It has been difficult to identify the semen found in Bouvier's body because she was raped by multiple people, Baez said. He said investigators also are analyzing skin and hair from the attackers, evidence recovered from Bouvier's fingernails and in Moumni's fist after both apparently put up a fight.

Lasi allegedly owned a .22-caliber rifle that ballistics tests show was used to kill Bouvier, Baez said. It passed through the hands of several of the suspects before police recovered it.

Other tests match a .22-caliber pistol to the shot in the back that left Moumni slowly bleeding to death, Baez said. That pistol was recovered from the property of Raul Sarmiento, an ex-convict who did time for sexual assault, along with a machete and knives that could have been used to cut off the women's clothing.