Police have launched a murder investigation after the dismembered remains of a missing millionaire and crypto influencer were discovered by a group of children in Argentina over the weekend.
The grisly find, of Fernando Pérez Algaba, 41, came to light after the children found a red suitcase filled with body parts while playing by a stream in the town of Ingeniero Budge, Buenos Aires Province, on Sunday, Jam Press reported.
The children’s parents notified the Buenos Aires police, who inspected the package and reportedly found the victim’s legs and forearm inside, discovering another whole arm in the stream.
On Wednesday, authorities discovered the missing head and torso, Spanish newspaper El País reported.
The body parts were cleanly amputated, suggesting the work of a professional, local media reported.
Meanwhile, a subsequent autopsy revealed that the victim had been shot three times before the dismemberment.
Police identified Mr Algaba by his fingerprints and also by distinctive tattoos on the body parts. The entrepreneur had been declared missing since last Tuesday, reported the New York Post.
The businessman had accumulated millions renting luxury vehicles and selling cryptocurrency, which he frequently advertised to his 900,000 followers on Instagram.
The influencer, who lived in Barcelona, Spain, had reportedly been staying in Argentina for a week prior to his alleged murder.
Mr Algaba had reportedly rented an apartment and was supposed to return the keys on July 19, but failed to show up or answer the phone, according to testimony by the property owner.
Police have arrested one suspect in connection with Mr Algaba’s death. While the motive behind the alleged murder remains unclear, authorities suspect that the influencer was killed over his numerous debts.
This marked a tragic end for the businessman, known by friends as Lechuga (lettuce), who started working at the age of 14.
“I started with a bicycle and a box and I started selling sandwiches,” said Mr Algaba previously, who reportedly graduated to buying vehicles to repair and resell.
The budding entrepreneur’s dedication allegedly paid off, as he had a large warehouse full of high-end cars, motorcycles and jet skis by the time he was 24.
Mr Algaba subsequently founded a luxury car and jet ski rental firm in Miami before picking up and moving to Barcelona earlier this year.
During his final years, Mr Algaba was involved in trading cryptocurrency from an office in Buenos Aires with over 25 employees.
However, the moneymaker’s seeming rags-to-riches story was not all that it seemed.
Mr Algaba had racked up “irrecoverable” debts with Argentina’s tax agency while his company, Motors Lettuce SRL, began bouncing cheques less than a year after its January 2018 incorporation.
Mr Algaba had also left a note on his phone claiming that he’d lost a lot of money investing in crypto, newspaper Argentinian newspaper La Nacion reported.
And Mr Algaba’s troubles weren’t limited to the business sphere.
He had reportedly run afoul of the Barra Bravas, a violent gang heavily involved in Argentina’s soccer scene, which reportedly demanded that he pay them a $60,000 loan.
“If something happens to me, everyone is already warned,” he wrote in a message.
Mr Algaba’s brother Rodolfo Pérez Algaba said he wasn’t sure if his deceased sibling was involved with the criminal ring, but insists that he was “not a scammer” as many had allegedly claimed, local media reported.
The victim’s brother claimed that Mr Algaba was simply a car salesman who “did not do well” in Bitcoin.
Rodolfo Algaba also noted that when he was 17, their father died and left an inheritance that Mr Algaba used to start his business, hinting that the influencer didn’t go from poor to posh as he seemed to suggest.
Rodolfo, who reportedly had not seen the vehicle hawker for three months following an argument, claimed that Mr Algaba “was under psychiatric treatment for an anxiety disorder.”
Rodolfo ultimately hopes that authorities can apprehend his brother’s killer.
“I’ve been here for three days and hardly sleep, thinking, breaking my head, how could this happen,” he declared. “But I’m not going to sit still, I’m not going to do justice with my own hands, but I hope that justice will be done”.
This story appeared in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission.