José Isidro Tendetza Antún never made it to a United Nations climate conference in Peru last December.
Instead of protesting in the Peruvian capital of Lima against mining operations, the Ecuadoran environmental and indigenous activist was found dead in an unmarked grave on the banks of the Zamora River with his hands and feet bound by blue rope.
"His body was beaten, bones were broken," Domingo Ankuash, a leader of Tendetza's Shuar indigenous group told The Guardian in the U.K. after the activist's son, Jorge, found his father's body. "He had been tortured and he was thrown in the river. The mere fact that they buried him before telling us, the family, is suspicious."
While the culprits were never caught, Tendetza had many enemies as a critic of the Mirador open-pit copper mine, a Chinese-owned operation in an area rich in biodiversity inhabited by the Shuar. His family and friends believe his killing is being covered up by the Ecuadoran government to protect the company – CCRC-Tongguan Investment – who owns the mine.