Sister of American missing in Chile for 23 years vows to continue search
SANTIAGO, Chile: The sister of an American mathematician who vanished in Chile said Tuesday she's frustrated by stalled efforts to find out what happened to him under the former military dictatorship.
Boris Weisfeiler, a mathematics professor at Pennsylvania State University, was last seen on Jan. 5, 1985, hiking and camping in the mountains in southern Chile.
"My faith is fading," Olga Weisfeiler said in a joint news conference with U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons. "But I need to fight, I need to know."
According to court papers, witnesses said her brother was arrested by a military patrol near Colonia Dignidad, or Dignity Colony, a German enclave used as a torture and detention center by the secret police of then-dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The enclave was some 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of Santiago.
Although four judges have handled the case through the years, "the most important leads, such as military involvement in Boris' arrest, Colonia Dignidad's role in Boris' fate, have not been thoroughly investigated," Olga Weisfeiler said in a statement.
She has had several meetings during her current visit, including with the most recent judge, Jorge Zepeda, who she said "has not followed up on repeated offers of help from the U.S. Embassy, including FBI assistance in the investigation."
The judge put several documents in the case under legal secrecy, preventing her lawyer from seeing them, she added.
Zepeda had no comment, but the judge has been praised for his work in other human rights cases. He oversaw the trial that led to the convictions of Colonia Dignidad's former leader, Paul Schaefer, and 14 other enclave members for human rights abuses.
Simons said finding out what happened to Weisfeiler remains a "high priority" for the U.S. government.
According to an official report, 3,190 people disappeared or were killed for political reasons during Pinochet's rule from 1973 to 1990. Olga Weisfeiler said her brother "was not interested in politics at all."
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