The Federal Police Homicide Unit arrested a businessman yesterday in the town of Curuzú Cuatiá, Corrientes, accused of being involved in the murder of local journalist Griselda Blanco last Saturday.
The man, who Federal Police (PFA, its Spanish acronym) say was in a relationship with Blanco, is Darío Holzweissig – the owner of a nightclub in Curuzú Cuatiá.
Blanco’s former partner, Armando Jara, who was in custody after being indicted by prosecutor María José Barrero Sahagun, was released but has not been cleared from the investigation.
Holzweissig’s name came up after investigators gained access to Blanco’s cellphone through the cloud after finding it destroyed in a wasteland. Statements from her sons, who called the relationship their mother had with Holzweissig “toxic”, were also instrumental in the investigation.
There is also security footage of the suspect going in and out of Blanco’s house during the time the autopsy determined she was murdered, according to Periodistas Argentinas, a female journalists’ collective that demands justice for Blanco.
“This line of investigation is more solid [than the one following her former partner Jara],” Claudia Acuña, a journalist and member of Periodistas Argentinas, told the Herald. Acuña is in Curuzú Cuatiá auditing the investigation alongside fellow Periodistas Argentinas member Nancy Pazos. “Her sons are calmer now – before, they thought their mother’s murderer was on the loose.”
The investigators now have to compare Holzweissig’s DNA with the genetic material found in a handful of hairs the victim had in one of her fists.
In a press release, the Federal Police said that Holzweissig killed Blanco because she was threatening to tell his wife about their relationship.
However, sources close to the matter told the Herald there is not a single piece of evidence to sustain this theory.
Last month, Blanco went on one of her radio shows and accused Holzweissig, who also bankrolled some of her projects, of having local police in his pocket. “He owed her a lot of money,” Silvia Casarrubia, Blanco’s lawyer, told the Herald.
“They may have had a romantic relationship, but their commercial dealings came before,” she said.
Casarrubia said that in a town like Curuzú Cutiá of roughly 50,000 people, the government does not support independent journalists such as Blanco. Because of this, she had to rely on private sponsors like Holzweissig.
“She made journalism in a very artisan-type fashion, a precarious, and dangerous way,” Casarrubia told the Herald.
Blanco had been receiving threats and told her sons that if anything happened to her they should contact Casarrubia. She is helping to raise awareness around the case, but will not be a plaintiff, due to her fear of threats.
Given that Blanco covered corruption cases related to local police, the journalist’s union insisted the Federal Police homicide division investigate. Casarrubia thought it was “crucial” the case transcended well beyond Corrientes in order for the investigators to ditch the Jara theory, which she considers nonsensical.
Casarrubia is convinced more people are involved in the murder. “She was tall, heavyset. There is no way a single person did it.”
“Griselda was the voice of the voiceless. She always covered social issues, and her death compromises the power balance of the city,” Acuña told the Herald. “We want to guarantee this doesn’t instill fear in the population”