Warning: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing.
A Mexican woman flew 3,000 miles for love, but instead ended up a victim of human organ trafficking, local authorities say.
Blanca Arellano travelled to Peru in July after a whirlwind online courtship with a Peruvian medical student identified by both her family and prosecutors as Juan Pablo Jesús Villafuerte. For months, her family believed that she was happy and that “their relationship was going very well” in the Andean country, according to her niece Karla Arellano, who posted about the saga on Twitter.
Then, on Nov. 7, she suddenly stopped responding. But it wasn’t until the younger Arellano reached out to Villafuerte that she began fearing for her aunt’s life.
“He argues that on Sunday my aunt decided to return to Mexico,” Arellano wrote on Twitter, sharing screenshots of her text messages with the med student. “They were in Huacho and she left for Lima by her own means to later go to Mexico but that has not happened.”
In one screen grab, Villafuerte claimed Arellano was “bored” of their relationship and that his role was “over.”
“I'm sure her phone is not working or she’s out of battery,” Villafuerte purportedly told her.
Jamás creí estar en esta situación, hoy pido apoyo y difusión para localizar a una de las personas más amadas e importantes de mi vida. Mi tía Blanca Olivia Arellano Gutiérrez desapareció el día Lunes 07 de Noviembre en Peru, ella de origen Mexicano, tememos por su vida+ pic.twitter.com/4aHRuv0zAW
— Karla Arellano (@itskararellano) November 12, 2022
Days later, on Nov. 9, a local fisherman found a faceless head floating in the waters in the port of Huacho, according to El País. Hours later, an arm. Then, an organ-less torso.
A ringed digit, washed ashore, tied the corpse back to Arellano, according to local outlets.
Villafuerte, the last person who had seen the 51-year-old alive, was arrested on Nov. 17.
“Juan Pablo Villafuerte was arrested on charges of human organs trafficking,” said Peru General Attorney Zoraida Ávalos in a statement on Monday. Investigators reportedly believe Villafuerte did not act alone in the plot.
Eerily, even as concerns grew for Arellano after she first went missing, Villafuerte had reportedly posted several videos to TikTok that featured the dissection and analysis of human organs, including a pancreas and a brain.
Searching his home, investigators found evidence of blood in the bathroom, the laundry room, and on the mattress and cleaning supplies, according to El Pais.
“We have no words to express what we are experiencing,” her niece tweeted on Wednesday. “My aunt was a kind, warm person, full of light, intelligent, dedicated, loving and that is how she should be remembered.”
“We believe in Peruvian laws and we fully trust the authorities to make it happen as they have done an impeccable job so far,” she added. “It’s time to raise your voice and ask for #JusticiaParaBlanca.”