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What happens to unidentified bodies in Colombia?

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  • ATTENTION:
    Some of the images displayed here may be disturbing to sensitive persons.
    Viewers discretion adviced.

    During 2007, the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences reported 16.318 cases of homicide in Colombia. Up to november, 2008, there where 11.214 more cases. Many of these bodies are never identified and the government finds itself with the trouble of disposing of these corpses.

    This is an essay made for SoHo magazine about what happens with unidentified / unclaimed bodies in Bogotá.

    Special thanks to the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences for their help and permissions issued for this essay.

    The article may be read here (spanish version only):
    http://www.soho.com.co/wf_InfoArticulo.aspx?IdArt=7774
  • Bogotá has one of the world's biggest legal medicine facilities. There are forensic technicians doing autopsies 24/7 to gather evidence that help them ID the bodies and establish causes of death. This facility works exclusively on violent related deaths.
  • After 60 days on the morgue's refrigerated rooms, an unclaimed body faces two possibilities: either is taken to medicine faculties for study purposes, or is buried on local cemeteries as shown here.
  • Here's a typical body used on a Medicine Faculty.
  • Bodies taken to local cemeteries are buried and then covered with nameless tombstones.
  • Here's writer Alfredo Molano taking a look at one of many pabillions of unidentified persons.