An anthropologist was killed recently in Guatemala, in an area not far from the one I visited in 2002. That visit inspired my fifth book, Grave Secrets. While Emilia Margarita Quan Staackmann did not work for the foundation that hosted me, (FAFG, the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala), members of that organization have also been the object of threats. Staackmann’s death is tragic. I hope that justice will be done.
Saturday, December 11th, 2010
A Guatemalan anthropologist and social researcher was kidnapped and killed near the indigenous community of Todos Santos Cuchumatan, it was reported today in the Latin American Herald Tribune. The body of Emilia Margarita Quan Staackmann, 27, was found on a road, police said. Quan, a scholar with the independent Center for Research and Documentation on the Western Border of Guatemala, was being driven to Todos Santos from Huehuetenango when her car was intercepted by four armed men. Quan’s driver was released. Later, residents of Todos Santos lynched two of the four suspected kidnappers.
Quan formerly worked for the Myrna Mack Foundation, named for the Guatemalan social anthropologist studying the effects of the country’s civil war, who was killed outside her Guatemala City office in September 1990. The Myrna Mack Foundation is joined by the U.N. office in Guatemala in denouncing Quan’s murder and demanding an investigation.