Disappearance in Bolivia: 30-year sentence for the murder of French Backpackers

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30 years prison sentance for the murder of two French citizens in Bolivia
30 years prison sentance for the murder of two French citizens in Bolivia
Jeremiah Bellanger parents had gone to Bolivia to attend the trial of the main suspect. | Photo Ouest-France / Franck Dubray

The Bolivian Justice has upheld the sentence of 30 years in prison for the murder in 2010 of a French couple whose bodies were never found.

The sentence is final.   “It is for us the result of four and a half years of struggle for justice” , said Patrick Bellanger and Cécile Blanloeil, parents of Jeramiah Bellanger, 25, killed with his girlfriend Fannie Blancho , 23.

Originally from Nort-sur-Erdre

Originally  from Nort-sur-Erdre (Loire Atlantique), the young couple had disappeared in August 2010 while on backpacking in the Amazon region of Beni, near the Brazilian border.

“The bodies of Fannie and Jeremiah were never found.  We would like to remind the Bolivian press that the reward of 20,000 dollars to the person who would allow us to locate their remains valid “ , said Jeremiah’s parents, who had travelled to Bolivia to follow the latest court decision in the case.

“We now demand that the Bolivian government transfers Jaime Martinez to the high security prison in La Paz Chonchocoro, which is advised in the judgement” , they added, saying they fear a possible escape.

Jaime Martinez, Bolivian, 32, was convicted of the murder and disappearance of French couple and originally sentenced in February 2014 to 30 years in prison.  The sentence was confirmed on appeal in August.

He then went to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the highest court in the land, to appeal to the sentence and to try and overturn his conviction.  Last Wednesday this appeal was rejected.

The young couple was on a trip backpacking for a year in Latin America when they stepped into the small town of Guayaramerin, in the north-east of Bolivia.

The investigation revealed that they had been approached in a bar by Jaime Martinez, who had invited them to a drink at home.  The two French youngsters were killed after an attempted rape on Fannie.

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