Peru rocked by death of reality show contestant

Boyfriend allegedly raped and killed her

Two months ago, Ruth Thalía Sayas revealed on a popular reality show in Peru that she did not work at a telephone call center as her family believed, but instead was a nightclub dancer, who had in the past offered to have sex with clients for money.

The 19-year-old became an instant public figure following that broadcast on the show El valor de la verdad (The price of truth). Then on September 11, her family reported her missing, opening a case that has gripped the entire country.

Last Saturday, police sources reported that her former boyfriend acknowledged that he had raped and killed her, and led police to the place where he had dumped her body. The entire case has reopened the debate in Peru over laws governing gender violence.

On the popular Saturday-night program, contestants answer risqué questions about their personal lives - issues that they are quizzed on prior to going on air. The contestant that answers all 21 questions takes the grand prize of 50,000 sols (14,800 euros), but Sayas opted to exit the program early and only won 15,000 sols (4,400 euros).

When she appeared on the program on July 7, she was accompanied by her parents and boyfriend Bryan Romero - family members and friends always accompany the contestants. Sayas explained that she had hid her real profession from her parents because she was afraid that they would throw her out of the family home.

Some days later, the weekly Caretas published an article saying that Romero was not her boyfriend. According to the report, Romero appeared on the telecast with Sayas in exchange for money. The network that broadcasts the program threatened to sue the magazine.

On Sunday, the newscasts as well as the social networks all published photos of the police recovering Sayas' body from under a heap of cement and rocks.

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