Victim of a dictatorial regime: Identification of Mr. Roberto Gomensoro Josman

Iscan M., Solla H., McCabe B.

FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, vol.151, pp.213-220, 2005 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 151
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.12.035
  • Page Numbers: pp.213-220


Forensic cases are ideal to test osteological techniques developed by physical anthropologists. Forensic anthropology is a scientific discipline that applies population-based standards to individual skeletal remains. Many complex techniques are used in an attempt to make a positive identification. Several of these techniques, specifically digital video superimposition and DNA, were used to identify the victim in this case. The purpose of this paper is to describe anthropological techniques used to identify the remains of an unknown person who was later identified as Mr. Roberto Gomensoro Josman, the victim of a Uruguayan dictatorial regime. Mr. Gomensoro Josman disappeared after authorities of the Uruguayan dictatorial government (1973-1984) arrested him. Six days later an unknown body was found floating in Lake Rincon del Bonete. The corpse was found tied with wire and weighted with three large stones used to keep the body submerged. An autopsy was performed and the body was buried as an unknown person in the grave identified as number 10936 of Tacuarembo Cemetery. On December 2002 the Peace and Justice Service asked the local judge to authorize the exhumation of the remains. The exhumed body was headless. An investigation revealed that the local medical examiner who had autopsied the remains on March 1973 had retained the victim's skull in his office. Osteological analysis indicated the victim was a white male in his 20s.