Group beat and stab youth to death in Argentine beach town

Tomás Tello was chased down and killed by a group of men after a fight, carrying echoes of the Fernando Báez Sosa murder case

An 18-year-old man was beaten and stabbed to death by a large group of men in the coastal resort town of Santa Teresita on Monday morning. 

The victim, Tomás Tello, was at a New Year’s Eve beach party with his friends when a fight broke out with the perpetrators, who started to chase him minutes before 7 a.m. They caught up with him on the corner of Costanera Avenue and 44 Street, where they beat and stabbed him.

Tello was taken to hospital, where he died. The autopsy found that the cause of his death was a large stab wound that reached his heart, news agency Télam reports .

The cause of the fight remains unclear.

Nine men aged between 16 and 57 were arrested for Tello’s murder, police and judicial sources told Télam. Seven were spotted on security cameras walking down the beach away from the crime scene and arrested minutes after the incident took place. The other two were found at around 9 a.m., ten blocks away. The murder weapon has yet to be found.

Tello’s family and friends protested in front of the Santa Teresita police station on Monday afternoon, demanding justice and criticizing the local police’s handling of the case. The victim was from the neighboring town of Mar del Tuyú.

“This is unbelievable, my brother only went out to enjoy himself,” Camila Tello, the victim’s sister, told news channel C5N.

She accused the police of failing to stop the attack, while Tello’s father added that there should have been more security guards at the party.

“They started fighting on the beach and they went after him, and they were punching him while he ran,” Tello’s mother, Samanta, told news channel TN.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Pablo Gamaleri will question the nine defendants, who are being investigated for homicide aggravated on grounds of premeditation and malice aforethought.

The Fernando Báez Sosa case

Tello’s crime comes four years after the murder of Fernando Báez Sosa, also 18, who was beaten to death by a team of rugby players in Villa Gesell city after a fight in a nightclub in 2020. Five members of the team were handed life sentences and three others were given 15 years. The men accused of Tello’s killing are under investigation for the same offenses as Báez Sosa’s murderers.

His killing was a breaking point, prompting Argentine society to question the skirmishes that often break out between young men at summer beach parties and nightclubs in Buenos Aires Province.

In the early hours of January 18, 2020, Báez Sosa and his friends bumped into a group of rugby players while partying in the Le Brique nightclub. They started fighting and were kicked out of the club. Outside, the rugby players knocked Báez Sosa to the floor and beat him savagely. Within minutes, he was dead. 

During the trial, which took place in January and February 2023, several witnesses testified that some of the rugby players convicted of his murder called Báez Sosa, the son of Paraguayan immigrants, racist slurs while they kicked him on the floor.

You may also be interested in: ‘Maybe they felt superior’: family, activists highlight racism in Baez Sosa murder


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