A man suspected of raping and murdering a girl was buried alive by the villagers of his small, Bolivian mountain town.
Santos Ramos, a 17-year-old in the southern highlands of Bolivia, was accused as a possible culprit in the rape and murder of 33-year-old Leandra Arias Janco.
Seeking vengeance for his egregious crimes (or at least his egregious allegations), more than 200 members of his community buried Ramos alive.
Here’s what you should know.
1. Ramos Was Buried in the Victim’s Grave
The gory details of Janco’s funeral – which also became Ramos’ – were relayed by an eyewitness radio reporter who, per the AP, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
According to the source, Ramos was tied up at the funeral. Mourners than tossed his body into the open grave, placed the woman’s coffin on top of him, then filled the hole with dirt.
If Ramos was indeed guilty, the justice served here is poetic.
2. The Town Population is Only 5,000 People
This tragic saga unfolded in the municipality of Colquechaca, part of the Potosi province, which is located high along the Andes Mountains in southeast Bolivia.
Indigenous ethnic groups in the Andes are known as Quechuas. This particular community of Quechuas had only 5,000 people, an intimate bourg where many residents, ostensibly, were familiar with the victim.
3. Residents Formed a Human Blockade to Deny Police Interference
According to Jose Luis Barrios, the chief prosecutor in Potosi province, there was no way for the police to intervene and stop the madness. Villagers intentionally impeded their route.
Barrios said residents blocked the road to the community, preventing the authorities from intervening on their own code of law and order.
4. Bolivia is Known for ‘Indigenous Justice’
Per the Huffington Post, because authorities are scarce in rural areas of Bolivia, residents often take justice into their own hands. In fact, in 2009, President Evo Morales (pictured above) even approved a law that allowed for “indigenous justice.”
But as the Economist points out, this concept of “indigenous justice” often devolves into a license for licentiousness.
“Community justice can sometimes resemble legalised lynching, featuring stoning, strangulation or burning with petrol,” the Economist writes. “The police do not keep a separate record of these acts.”
5. Ramos Was a Peasant
According to Globo.com, the 17-year-old Ramos was not a figure of much import within the community. He was merely a peasant.
In a poor, mining village such as this, that doesn’t necessarily make him a pariah to his killers. But it does distinguish him from other, more high-profile lynchings of this ilk, some of which involved the killing of police officers.