The body of a 48-year-old Spanish environmental activist in Brazil was found Tuesday night by a waterfall near his home in Rio de Janeiro state, where he had lived for the past decade with his wife. Gonzalo Alonso Hernández, who had denounced alleged crimes against the local environment, was shot several times in the head, authorities said.
Marco Antonio Alves, the police delegate in the state, said that investigators believe that Hernández had been murdered because of his public complaints against hunting and the burning of land in the Cunhambebe park where he lived.
Hernández’s widow, María de Lurdes Pena Campos, who worked in Rio and would return home on the weekends, confirmed that her husband was always complaining about the illegal hunters in the park and the fires started by ranchers.
Police said that a computer was missing from Hernández’s home; his power and telephone lines had also been cut.
An initial inquiry shows that Hernández, who was a biologist, was executed at his home and his body was later dumped in a waterfall in the natural park.
According to the Spanish consulate in Rio, Hernández moved to Brazil after he was offered a position with Telefónica. The victim’s widow said that Hernández had no enemies other than the people he denounced to authorities.
He never received any explicit threats except one time someone flew threateningly over the home in a helicopter, the wife said.