Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chile: US Teacher's Death Being Investigated as a Homicide, Autopsy to Be Performed

According to The Latin American Tribune, the death of a 22-year-old US woman teaching English in the southern city of Temuco is being investigated as a homicide, Chilean authorities said Monday (September 8).

Erica Faith Hagan, who had arrived in Chile in June 2014 in Temuco, 675 kilometers (425 miles) south of Santiago, was found dead last Saturday (September 6) in the bathroom at the apartment she occupied at the school.

Deputy Chief of Detectives Hernan Solís said that Ms. Hagan’s body showed “three head injuries possibly caused by a blunt-force object.”

An autopsy will also determine if Hagan was sexually assaulted.

Inside the apartment authorities found some half-burned blankets leading to the hypothesis that whomever killed Hagan also tried to set a fire to destroy evidence.

COMMENT: The first sentence of the 2014 Crime and Safety Report for Chile makes the following statement: “The security environment is generally safe, and there is comparatively less serious violent crime experienced in Chile than in other Latin American countries.

Such a statement made earlier in the year could not have anticipated that homicides in Chile actually DO occur. 

It is my general assessment that expats who teach languages in foreign countries to support their foreign travel generally reside in apartments and accommodations that FAIL to meet the minimum physical security standards of most developed-nation embassies and consulates.

Young adults in their 20s and 30s tend to be unschooled in terms of the predators and security risks that prevail in all countries.

An observation. Most foreign travelers never consider the possibility that they may die while abroad, yet this reality actually occurs to some 6,000 US citizens annually, which is why I urge all foreigners to obtain international medical treatment and medical evacuation insurance that includes the repatriation of their remains back home in the event they die while abroad.

In my experience, young adults tend to die abroad more frequently than older traveler categories.

US Consul Jeffrey Vick traveled to Temuco to make arrangement for the repatriation of Hagan’s remains to Kentucky, where her family resides.

“These incidents, unfortunately, happen in every country,” Vick said. “Our responsibility is to take care of our fellow citizens.”

Mr. Vick expressed full confidence in the Chilean police.