The investigation into the vandalized hermitage at the Argentine Cemetery in the Falklands has seen the local police investigation extend to the UK and Argentina. Forensic material has been sent to Britain and Falklands’ police have requested the Malvinas Families Commission to help identify the origin of a Spanish Bible with a message signed by a “Viviana” found inside the attacked shrine.
A release from the Royal Falkland Islands Police says that on Saturday 28 July they received a report of damage to the cabinet housing the statue of the Virgin of Lujan at the Argentine Cemetery near Darwin. A full investigation was commenced.
Royal Falkland Islands Police Crime Scene Investigators photographed and examined the scene. They found that the toughened glass panel forming the door and front of the cabinet had been damaged, by blows from a blunt instrument. The toughened glass withstood a quantity of blows to its upper and central area, however it was eventually compromised toward its lower right corner in an area above a vase of flowers within the cabinet. A hole had been made in the glass in this area by means of concentrated blows with the blunt instrument.
The statue and all other contents of the cabinet were unmoved, undamaged and had not been subject to any force. Investigations show that nothing had been removed from within the cabinet.
The investigators found that a Bible, wrapped in a clear ‘ziplock’ plastic bag and sealed with white electrical tape, had been placed in the cabinet through the hole in the toughened glass and laid on top of the flowers that occupied the vase in the lower right hand corner of the cabinet. The bible had been sealed in the bag with its front cover folded open revealing a hand written inscription in Spanish. Translated the inscription reads; “For those combatants who, with great bravery, shared their hearts with my family. And just as it was for me, I hope it is a blessing and keeps you company.” The inscription was signed Viviana and dated.
Investigations show that this bible had previously been left outside and in front of the cabinet, protected from the weather by the plastic bag and electrical tape seal. These items are to be subject of forensic examination in a United Kingdom Forensic Laboratory.
Two photographs from the crime scene have been released by the Royal Falkland Islands Police.
The first photograph shows the location of the damage to the toughened glass of the cabinet and the hole in it. It also shows the location of the plastic wrapped bible on top of the flowers at the bottom of the hole.
The second photograph shows the inscription on the first page of the bible and the plastic wrap.
A photocopy of the inscription has been provided to the Argentine Families Commission with a request for assistance in identifying who may have carried the bible to the cemetery and placed it in front of the cabinet and any information that may assist in identifying those responsible for the damage.
The Royal Falkland Islands Police release signed by Chief Inspector Len S McGill ends saying it hopes that the information and photographs will assist the memory of anyone who can assist them in this investigation. If that is the case, please contact the Royal Falkland Islands Police on Tel: 28100, Fax: 28110, or by letter addressed to Police Headquarters, Ross Road, Stanley, Falkland Islands, FIQQ 1ZZ.