“An open case for the police”: The enigmatic disappearance of an English astronomer from the La Silla Observatory

On September 16, English scientist Thomas Richard Marshwho was doing work at the La Silla Observatory, located in La Higuera, Coquimbo Region, was reported missing.

The scientist from the University of Warwick, professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, was in our country making observations, something he had already done in the past.

Tom has been to La Silla several times. He knows the terrain very well and this time he had to make observations for four nights”, commented one of his colleagues Odette Toloza, in a contact from Germany with the morning of Mega. “It is unfortunate news that has hit the entire community of astronomers hard, especially in the field that we worked with Tom,” she said. In turn, Toloza explained that Marsh worked in “stellar remnants”.

As a result of his disappearance, Carabineros and the Investigative Police began a search that has intensified with the passing of days. The PDI personnel in the area were joined by members of the Santiago Criminalistics Laboratory, as well as canine specimens and drones to explore the sector characterized by intense hills.

So far, as reported by ESO in Chile, there are at least 30 people deployed in the area looking for the astronomer.

“Despite an extensive and thorough search by Police and PDI, with the support of ESO staff and British Police, Marsh has unfortunately still not been found. ESO’s La Silla Observatory is located in a mountainous area in the northern part of the Coquimbo region,” the organization wrote in a statement.

La Silla Observatory, from where the astronomer disappeared. Photo: ESO

“This is an investigation being carried out by the La Serena Homicide Brigade with the support of all the operational units of the Prefecture. And proceedings are being carried out in coordination with the La Serena Prosecutor’s Office,” said Prefect Carlos Albornoz, head of the Elqui Provincial Prefecture of the PDI. The police have already been taking statements from witnesses to clarify the man’s disappearance. 61 years old.

According to the local newspaper La Region, the disappearance was reported that day at 6 in the morning. Scientist Odette Toloza said a student notified them of Marsh’s disappearance. “The last time they had contact was the day before when they said their goodbyes to go to bed. The next day she expected to see him because they would have breakfast together and he didn’t show up.”

“It’s open chaos, no hypothesis is ruled out,” said the policeman.

For its part, the family, in a statement published by the BBC, said: “We are deeply concerned about Tom and miss him.”

The La Silla Observatory is located on the edge of the Atacama desert, at an altitude of 2,400 meters. It is a space that has eighteen telescopes, five of them built by the European Southern Observatory organization, while others are maintained in part by ESO.

The article is in Spanish

Tags: open case police enigmatic disappearance English astronomer Silla Observatory

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