A 19-year-old medical student was beaten savagely to death by burglars in a friend’s apartment before they fled with just GBP 7 in cash.
Tragic Maria Agustina Fernandez was alone in her friend’s apartment in Cipolletti, Argentina, on Saturday, 2nd July, when he had gone to the shops.
But while she was alone, said local media reports, thieves forced their way inside and beat her brutally over the head.
Her heartbroken mother, Silvana Capello, told local media she was so badly beaten that one of her hands was broken when she had tried to shield herself.
The thieves escaped with just ARS 1,000 (GBP 7) in cash and the pair’s mobile phones.
Oil worker Pablo Parra, 24, said that when he returned home, he saw his friend convulsing on the floor and called for an ambulance.
The aspiring doctor was taken to Dr Pedro Moguillansky Hospital, where doctors tried to save her, but she was declared brain dead on Tuesday.
At the time of reporting, her organs had been donated and her body was waiting to be transferred to her hometown of Santa Rosa, in La Pampa province.
The investigation is being carried out in secrecy, but a judicial source told local media that the friend is not considered a suspect.
Some reports said they were more than just friends and had been in a relationship for a little over two months.
The anonymous source said: “Although the main hypothesis being investigated is that of a robbery, other possible motives for the attack are not ruled out.”
One factor that may hamper the investigation is that the CCTV camera near the entrance to the apartment block where both she and her friend lived was broken.
At the time of reporting, investigators had found no eyewitnesses and no arrests had been made.
However, police forensic officers had gathered hairs, footprints and blood samples from the crime scene.
Maria had moved to Cipolletti in March to study at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the National University of Comahue.
She dreamed of becoming a cardiologist.
Friends, family and activists have been demanding justice and the authorities have called on anyone with relevant information to get in touch.