Body of missing Ecuadorian lawyer found near police training school

Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso announced that authorities found the body of the young female lawyer who went missing after visiting a police training school in the capital Quito. 

Reports said Lasso expressed that the news caused him “deep pain and indignation”, vowing punishment for the perpetrator.  

According to reports, the young lawyer, María Belén Bernal, 34, went missing ten days after visiting her husband at the police facility, three miles away, from where police found Berna’s body. 

Reports also said that Bernal’s husband, Lt Germán Cáceres gave police a statement about his missing wife and then disappeared soon after. 

Reports said the government then fired the head of the school, fired Cáceres as an instructor, and offered a $20,000 reward for his capture.  

Bernal’s death sparked protests and calls for justice from her relatives, friends, and women’s rights groups in Quito and across the country. 

According to the Aldea Foundation, a non-Government organization that tracks crime in Ecuador, femicide – when a woman is killed because of her gender – is increasing in the country, with over 200 cases reported in 2022. 

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