BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The remains of a man who had disappeared in southern Argentina earlier this month appear to have been found inside a school shark that was captured by local fishermen.
The family of Diego Barría, 32, recognized his remains due to a tattoo that was visible, Daniela Millatruz, the law enforcement officer who was in charge of the search, told local news media. Barría had last been seen near the coast in the southern Chubut province riding his all-terrain vehicle late on Feb. 18.
The damaged ATV was located on Feb. 20 on a beach near Rocas Coloradas, but there was no sign of Barría and an intense search began to try to locate the father of three.
Early Sunday morning, two fishermen went to the coastguard to report that they had fished three school sharks close to where Barría’s ATV was located “and when they were cleaning them they found human remains in one of them,” Millatruz said. Family members recognized Barría “due to a tattoo that appeared in one of those remains,” she added. Officials are continuing to investigate what exactly happened to Barría.
“We presume Diego had an accident,” Millatruz said, “and we’re investigating if there was a vehicle involved.”
The remains will also undergo DNA testing to officially confirm that they belong to Barría, Cristian Ansaldo, who heads up the police department in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, said in an interview with local media.
The school shark in which the human remains were found measured around 1.5 meters (4.9 feet), Ansaldo said.
The most likely hypothesis that investigators are currently working with is that Barría “had an accident and was dragged,” Ansaldo said, noting there had been a strong tidal surge the weekend when he disappeared.
“My heart went with you! I love you forever,” Virginia Brugger, who was identified as Barría’s partner and had been posting updates on the search on social media, wrote on Facebook Sunday.