|Sergio del Castillo in a photo with an unidentified Russian woman, who he was seeing recently, according to family members. (Photo: Family archive via El Comercio )|
A Peruvian diplomat who went missing in Moscow during the New Year festivities was probably killed, a Russian official told Interfax news agency.
Authorities in Moscow have opened a murder investigation in this case. The official named no suspects and did not elaborate on why investigators think the diplomat was murdered but the fact is that Del Castillo has been missing for 18 days now and there are no suspects.
Sergio Alonso del Castillo Cebreros, who had a post at the Peruvian Embassy in Russia, was last seen leaving a Moscow night club in the early hours of January 1, his colleagues said.
The search for Del Castillo continues “with the most ample collaboration of Russian government authorities,” Peru’s foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website. The ministry has also offered to arrange for the missing diplomat’s relatives to travel to Moscow, according to the statement.
Peruvian and Russian authorities remain in constant contact regarding the case, the ministry said. “It’s a mystery and an enigma to us,” Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde told AFP about the disappearance.
“The last image we have of him is from a security camera in the morning, when he lights up a cigarette, walks out and turns a corner. It is the last thing we know,” Belaunde said. “Unfortunately, we have no further information.”
The diplomat’s father, also named Sergio del Castillo, has expressed frustration with the way Russian authorities have handled the case, especially given their statements that his son may have left the city with a group of friends without telling his family.
“They waited 10 days to rule out a hypothesis that was wrong,” said the father.
The father also took issue with the nature of the criminal investigation, saying it should be a missing persons case instead. The diplomat’s mother and sister are presently in Moscow to learn the details of the case firsthand.
Del Castillo Cebreros, an economist by training, has spent the past two years in Russia, his first overseas posting.