that "there is no circumstantial evidence or prima facie presumption for concluding that death occurred with the backing or tolerance of government authorities." In its written communication of September 2008, Ecuador stated that "it had made every effort to throw light on the murders and bring their perpetrators to justice." An indication that was that it had "punished" a police officer for the facts of this case, although it acknowledged that he had been released, having completed the maximum time allowed in pre-trial detention. The State stressed that said officer had been released because his time in pre-trial detention had exceeded the maximum allowed under Ecuadorian law. It adds that the cases against the other police officers had been dismissed because "ballistic experts' reports showed that they had not fired shots" against the deceased. 8. Regarding the alleged lack of reparation for what had happened, the Ecuadorian State maintains that the petitioner could sue for damages once one of those accused has been convicted. III. DETERMINATIONS OF FACT A. Regarding Walter Gonzalo Huacón Baidal and Mercedes Eugenia Salazar Cueva 9. The Commission takes note of the information submitted by the petitioner to the effect that, at the time of the facts, Walter Gonzalo Huacón Baidal was 31 years old, a micro-entrepreneur, and a Civil Defense volunteer in Guayaquil, with no criminal record.2 His family consisted of: i) his wife Mery del Pilar Chancay Quimis; ii) his children Karen Lissette and Wolther Bryan; iii) his brother Wilson Eduardo Huacón Baidal; and iv)his cousin William Huacón3. 10. The petitioner likewise reported that at the time of the facts of this case Mercedes Eugenia Salazar Cueva was 32 years old, a housewife who lived in Guayaquil, with no criminal record.4 Her family consisted of i) her partner Wilson Eduardo Huacón Baidal; ii) her children Wilson Fabián, Karla Fernanda, and Kerly Mercedes; and iii) her brother-in-law Walter Gonzalo Huacón Baidal.5 B. Regarding what happened on March 31, 1997 11. The petitioner reported that on the afternoon of March 31, 1997, Walter Huacón and his wife Mery Chancay organized a family gathering at their home to plan a 15th birthday party for Karla Huacón Salazar, the daughter of Mercedes Salazar and Wilson Huacón.6 The IACHR takes note that all the family members mentioned in the foregoing section, with the exception of Wilson Fabián Huacón, were present at that gathering. 12. The petitioner pointed out that, around 5:30 p.m., Wilson Huacón left the gathering with his two daughters because he had a headache. Thirty minutes later, Walter Huacón took his cousin's car, which he used as a taxi, to drive Mercedes Salazar home. Mery Chancay testified that Walter Huacón was in the front of the car, while Ms. Salazar sat in the back.7 13. Ms. Chancay stated that she saw the car leave her home and go approximately 200 meters before making a "U" turn. She added that when Mr. Huacón came back, he had said "Negra [her nickname], give me the papers." Ms. Chancay explained that she saw a police patrol car pertaining to the Guayas Traffic Police performing an inspection of several vehicles.8 14. Concerning what happened later with the vehicle containing Walter Huacón and Mercedes Salazar, the IACHR takes note of the differing versions in the file on the case. Petitioners' initial petition of October 15, 2002. Petitioners' brief received on July 8, 2004. Action for damages by Walter Huacón's family of April 13, 2000, filed with the Civil Court Judge in Guayas. Attachment to the petitioner's initial petition of October 15, 2002. 4 Petitioners' initial petition of October 15, 2002. Petitioners' brief received on July 8, 2004. 5 Petitioners' initial petition of October 15, 2002. 6 Action for damages by Walter Huacón's family filed with the Civil Court Judge in Guayas on April 13, 2000. Attachment to the petitioner's initial petition on October 15, 2002; Action for damages by Mercedes Salazar's family filed with the Civil Court Judge in Guayas on April 13, 2000 Attachment to the petitioner's initial petition of October 15, 2002. 7 Statement by Mery del Pilar Chancay Quimis to the National Police on April 3, 1997. Attached to the petitioner's initial petition of October 15, 2002. 8 Statement by Mery del Pilar Chancay Quimis to the National Police on April 3, 1997. Attached to the petitioner's initial petition of October 15, 2002. 2 3 2

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