BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) exhumed on Wednesday the remains of the son of former Argentine President Carlos Menem and Zulema Yoma, who alleges that the helicopter crash that killed the former first couple’s son was not an accident.
“Zulema doesn’t believe anything and that mistrust kept growing as a mother from the beginning to learn about all the irregularities that occurred during the investigation,” an attorney for the family, Diego Storto, said outside San Justo cemetery in Buenos Aires province.
Carlos Menem Jr.’s body was exhumed on Wednesday morning and taken to the coroner’s office.
The EAAF will try to match the skull, which was already at the coroner’s office, with the body because “there are many doubts” about whether it is actually Menem Jr.’s skull, Storto said.
After obtaining forensic evidence, the EAAF will re-inter the body on Wednesday at whichever cemetery the family selects, the attorney said.
The forensic specialists plan to compare DNA obtained from the remains with that of Menem Jr.’s sister and parents.
The test results should be available in about 45 days, bringing “peace” to the family, Storto said, adding that the investigation could continue.
The March 15, 1995, helicopter crash that killed Menem Jr. has attracted the interest of conspiracy theorists in Argentina.
On March 8, Judge Carlos Villafuerte agreed to order the exhumation of the body in an effort to determine whether Menem Jr.’s death was an accident or murder.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had made that request several years ago, but Villafuerte did not issue the ruling until now because the victim’s mother and Carlos Menem’s ex-wife, Yoma, was not in the proper state of mind to face this process, Juan Gabriel Labake, an attorney for the former first lady, told EFE in March.
The 75-year-old Yoma asked for the body to be exhumed because she suspects her son’s remains were manipulated to hinder the investigation.
The case returned to the public eye in 2014, when Yoma said her ex-husband had told her in private that their 26-year-old son had not died in an accident but instead had been shot in the head and that there had been a cover-up.
Villafuerte heard testimony last year from all other living former presidents who governed Argentina after Menem: Fernando de la Rua, who governed from 1999-2001; Ramon Puerta and Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, both in office in 2001; Eduardo Camaño, who governed from 2001-2002; Eduardo Duhalde, in office from 2002-2003; and Cristina Fernandez, who was head of state from 2007-2015.
The 86-year-old Menem governed Argentina from 1989-1999.
Villafuerte summoned them as witnesses after Menem, whose obligation to maintain state secrets had been lifted by Congress, said in testimony last May that late former Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella had told him the Lebanese Shiite militia group Hezbollah killed his son.
Menem’s ex-wife, who has consistently maintained that no accident occurred, said Fernandez told her on one occasion that her son had been the target of an attack.
In her testimony last November, Fernandez said she was almost certain that Menem Jr.’s death in Buenos Aires province was not an accident.