“We no longer have strength”: the pain of the family of Matías Berardi, the teenager kidnapped and murdered in 2010

Matías Berardi was 16 years old when he was kidnapped and murdered

“No one can measure what my son suffered and what we are experiencing. We don’t have any more strength left, they did us a lot of damage. Neither Juan (the father) nor I have words to express ourselves. We miss Matt so much. It just hurts sometimes to live“, He says Maria Ines Daveriothe mother of Matias Berardithe 16-year-old teenager who was kidnapped and murdered by a gang of criminals in 2010. His words reflect the grief that has weighed down his family ever since.

The case shocked society. Because the victim was a minor and because of the savage actions of the murderers. But also because, at a given moment, the boy was able to escape from his captors and the violent situation could have had another outcome. However, no neighbor helped him.

Solidarity was precisely one of the qualities that distinguished Matías, who was the oldest of four brothers and was in his fifth year of high school. In dialogue with Infobae, his mother remembers him as “a special boy, of pure kindness, cheerful, humble, supportive. In all the things he did, he always put the other first before himself. He helped everyone, he took great care of his brothers. Good son, good partner. He was only 16 years old and had rare courage and maturity.”

The case

It happened on September 28, 2010. That night, Matías had gone to dance at a bowling alley on Costanera Norte Avenue in Buenos Aires, where he met with friends to celebrate a birthday and a graduate party. Back to his house in Engineer Mashwitz, a combi left him at the intersection of route 26 and Panamericana. It was around 5:45 in the morning. Almost half an hour later, exactly At 6:11, the victim’s parents received a call from the boy’s phone in which a man told them that he had their son kidnapped.

The subsequent investigation confirmed that, after getting off the combi and at some point on the way to his home, the adolescent was intercepted and kidnapped by a gang led by Richard Fabian Soutoa blacksmith of Uruguayan nationality who He acted accompanied by his wife, his daughters, his brothers-in-law and other relatives.

The criminals began a series of extortion calls to the victim’s family demanding different sums of money for the ransom: they even claimed $30 thousand. At least they had handcuffed and locked in a workshop from Sarmiento Avenue to 400, in the Buenos Aires town of Benavidez, Tiger party. There were, in total, eight telephone communications with Matías’ parents. Seven occurred in the early hours, until 8:18 that morning.

After spending more than 12 hours captive, around 19.20, the young man managed to escape. He jumped a fence that leads to the park that surrounds the workshop and reached the street. Barefoot and somewhat disoriented from the blows he had received, began to ask for help among the neighbors to whom he told them that they had him kidnapped. But no one helped him or gave him shelter.

For the fact there were ten convicted. One more accused, who at that time was a minor and who had been acquitted in the first instance, will now face a new trial
For the fact there were ten convicted. One more accused, who at that time was a minor and who had been acquitted in the first instance, will now face a new trial

Berardi ran into a man who was about to enter his home, rang the bell for the owner of a kiosk on the block and He even tried to get into the vehicle of a taxi driver who, frightened by the situation, accelerated and left the place.. Meanwhile, two of the kidnappers got into a car and they chased him. They recaptured him two blocks away, at the gates of a cemetery. In order to mislead the neighbors and so that no one would help him, the women accomplices in the kidnapping went out into the street shouting to tell them that the young man was a thief who had tried to rob them.

Minutes later, at 20.38, the last call was given by the kidnappers, who asked the victim’s family if they had the money they had demanded. On the other end of the phone they answered that had collected $6 thousand, before which they cut. Then, at some point in the early hours of the next day, Matías was taken to a vacant lot in Bell, where the assassins shot him in the back. The body was found hours later.

An oral trial was held for the case with 11 defendants in the dock. In April 2013, the aforementioned Richard Souto (today 55 years old), Nestor Facundo Maidana (3. 4), Damian Maximilian Sack (28), Gonzalo Hernan Alvarez (43) and Gabriel Raul Figueroa (29) were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Federal Oral Criminal Court No. 3 of San Martín.

In addition, judges Elbio Osores Soler, Lidia Soto and Germán Castelli imposed the following sentences on the rest: 24 years in prison for Ana Cristina Moyano (Richard Souto’s wife, 50 years old), 21 years old to Federico Esteban Maidana (39), 19 years old to Celeste Veronica Moyano (39), 18 years old to Elijah Emmanuel Vivas (32) and 17 years for Jennifer Stefania Souto (31).

Meanwhile, a young Alexia Souto Moyano, daughter of the gang leader and who was a minor at the time of the crime (she was 17 years old), was acquitted. But then the Criminal Cassation Chamber revoked the ruling and ordered a new debate against that woman, who is currently 29 years old.

María Inés Daverio, the mother of Matías (Nicolás Stulberg)
María Inés Daverio, the mother of Matías (Nicolás Stulberg)

In the file, several witnesses located Alexia Souto Moyano at the scene of the events with an active role. She was singled out as who he took care of watching over the victim during his captivity. For the investigators, his participation in the retention and concealment of Berardi was proven.

The debate against the woman was scheduled to start this week, but this Friday’s hearing was suspended at the request of the defense, which made it known that they are studying an abbreviated trial, as he learned. Infobae. That would mean that she accepts the guilt in exchange for a lesser sentence. Thus, a new appointment with the parties was ordered for next October 3.

“It is a serious crime and the penalty should be too. But taking the blame for him would be an important step.”, considered María Inés and pointed out that, “despite the fact that there was a lot of evidence”, the accused “never declared and never asked for forgiveness”, just like those convicted. In that sense, she questioned: “She was very young at her time, now she is no longer.”

“At that time, our children were very young. We had no choice but to go ahead for them. Justice gave an answer, that helped us. There were firm sentences. And in this new trial I think it is very important not only for our family and friends, but also for the whole of society, that this person has a conviction. He has to take responsibility for what he did,” the mother continued.

And he added: “I don’t find any sense in resignifying a death like that, so brutal. But that there continues to be justice I think it would give us all hope that things can change”.

The parents of the victim, in a call in front of the Obelisk to demand justice (Nicolás Stulberg)
The parents of the victim, in a call in front of the Obelisk to demand justice (Nicolás Stulberg)

Before finishing, María Inés shared with this medium a letter written by Nora Taberna, a primary school teacher from Matías. The text, her mother pointed out, helps to know in words what her son was like:

So, you were 6 or 7 years old and we shared two of our lives.

So, you were Berardi and I was Mrs. Nora. You loved that she called you by her last name and you expected the ‘What does Berardi do?’ to release laughter, a toothless laugh, a clear and luminous laugh.

So, you were able to show up at school with your dad’s shoes, because the dog had grabbed yours and you had solved it that way. Your logic was irrefutable.

So, you were what they tell me you have always been: a loving son, a present brother, an excellent companion, a best friend.

So, I imagined as I imagine for each and every one of my students a future, and to you, and I always told you, I imagined you as a footballer, not only because you played well, but because you knew how to be part of a team; You had learned as a child the codes of friendship and companionship.

So, I was certain that you would always be a noble and supportive being. Solidarity that they did not practice with you, and in that non-practice you left us a photo so that we could see what we had become as a society.

We are here because that photo hurts and shames us, because we must commit ourselves as people and as citizens, because we want something to change. If we manage to transfer some of the values ​​that you had, then and only then will we have honored you, Matías.

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“We no longer have strength”: the pain of the family of Matías Berardi, the teenager kidnapped and murdered in 2010