Monarch butterfly defender suffered a blow to the head before drowning



The activist and protector of the monarch butterfly Homero Gómez González suffered a head injury before drowning, the Prosecutor's Office of the western Mexican state of Michoacán reported Thursday.

According to the autopsy performed on the body, Gomez died drowned in a small pool of water in the town called "The Soldier" after suffering a severe blow to the head.

The Prosecutor's Office of Michoacán informed Efe that specialists and investigators try to specify the cause of the trauma, so it is not ruled out that the environmentalist could have been killed.

"The specialized areas have been instructed to continue with the appropriate and pertinent procedures to exhaust all the lines of investigation that are derived and resolve fully and in accordance with the law," said the Prosecutor's Office.

Amado Gómez, brother of the environmentalist, said that the family of the monarch's protector expects the Prosecutor's Office to clarify the case, although he does not rule out requesting the intervention of the Attorney General's Office (FGR).

Homero Gómez disappeared on January 14 when he attended a regional fair in the community of El Soldado, in the municipality of Ocampo, and his body was found on the 29th in a small pool of water near where he was last seen.

Homero Gómez's family was the victim of a telephone extortion by some “opportunist” who took advantage of the situation to obtain 50,000 pesos (about 2,500 euros). The Prosecutor's Office already investigates the identity of the extortionist.

The Gomez case is closely followed by the State Commission for Human Rights (ECHR), an agency that has asked the State Prosecutor's Office that investigations be based on their work protecting the monarch butterfly forest.

Gomez was the president of the board of directors of the Ejido of El Rosario, in the municipality of Ocampo - in the east of Michoacán -, where the most important monarch butterfly sanctuary in Mexico is located.

The environmentalist also managed the donations that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sent for the protection of the monarch butterfly biosphere, where Homero Gómez used them to reforest areas destroyed by the clandestine logging of the pine and oyamel forest.

Relatives and friends of Gómez González made this Thursday a tribute to the body present at the access to the sanctuary of El Rosario, and tomorrow Friday will be buried in the local cemetery.

Gómez González's case is the murder of a more recent environmentalist in Mexico after last August the Mexican biologist and ecologist Nora López, responsible for the red macaw breeding project in southeastern Mexico, was shot dead.

In June 2018, the environmentalist José Luis Álvarez Flores, defender of the sanctuary of the Saraguato monkey, was killed in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco.

In 2018, 14 environmental defenders were killed, of which eleven were indigenous, according to the Mexican Network of Forest Farmers Organizations (MOCAF).

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