The death of 16-year-old American Alex Villamayor was initially ruled a suicide, but deeper investigation turned up gruesome evidence that he had been raped, beaten, and shot to death. The main suspect is his 18-year-old friend, René Hofstetter. Villamayor’s family is fighting for justice for their brutalized son in Paraguay while asking the FBI to step in.
Investigators looking into Alex Villamayor’s murder have ruled that the 16-year-old was raped and killed on the family estate of René Hofstetter in Obligado, Paraguay. Villamayor, the American son of a former Paraguayan congressman, was allegedly with his friends Hofstetter, 18, and Alain Jacks Díaz de Bedoya, 16, when he died of a gunshot wound to the head in 2015.
On June 26, the night before he was found dead, Villamayor called his father Luis Villamayor, who lived 400 miles from the Hofstetter ranch. The call was cut off suddenly, and when Luis called back, nobody picked up the phone. Luis then called Hofstetter’s parents, who sent a ranch hand to see what was going on.
Evidence Points to Alex Villamayor’s Murder
The next morning, a crying Hofstetter called Luis to say that Alex Villamayor had shot himself and was dead. The local prosecutor was in a hurry to label the death a suicide, even though the evidence hinted at something far more gruesome.
The gunshot wound was on the right side of Villamayor’s head, but the gun was found in his left hand. Testing determined that the gun had not been fired for a while.
On top of that, no gunshot residue was found on Villamayor’s hands or clothing. The boy’s mother noticed that the body had been found dressed in clothes that did not belong to Villamayor.
Rape, Murder, and a Cover-Up?
A second autopsy report confirmed that Villamayor had been sexually abused. There was deep bruising all over his body, including in his genital area, and there were marks on his body made by an object like a stick.
The autopsy also found semen in his anus, but a DNA test showed that the semen belonged to Villamayor. However, this finding has been questioned by the boy’s family.
The ranch hand who was sent to check on the boys, Matthias Wilbs, has reportedly confessed to hiding the murder weapon and placing a different gun in Villamayor’s left hand.
Phone records show that Hofstetter called his father more than 50 times starting at 3:00 a.m. on June 27, 2015. This contradicted Hofstetter and de Bedoya’s claim that they had woken up at 6:00 a.m. that day to find Villamayor already dead.
Prosecutors believe that Villamayor was killed sometime between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m.
Family Is Completely Shattered
Paraguayan officials have twice declined offers of help from the FBI in Alex Villamayor’s murder investigation. Villamayor’s family is now demanding changes to U.S. legislation that would require the FBI to get involved when American citizens are murdered abroad.
Villamayor’s aunt, Kim Luk, said the family is still hoping the FBI can assist them.
As for the suspects, Hofstetter and Wilbs are currently in prison awaiting trial for premeditated murder. Hofstetter’s new trial date is February 19, 2018.
Hofstetter’s father, who is in hiding, has been indicted on charges linked to the alleged murder cover-up and illegal firearm possession.
De Bedoya was indicted for murder in 2015, but he was acquitted less than a month later, before the investigation’s conclusion.
Villamayor’s grieving family is completely shattered. His mother, Puning Luk, told The Daily Beast, “I thought it would be good for him to go to the ranch and have some fun. I never imagined in a million years he was going to be beaten, raped, and killed by his friends.”