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Shame in Bogota: Nun jailed for murder

A Colombian nun has been sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment for the murder of another sister in her convent after the authorities were finally able to prove her guilty with the aid of forensic tests by the American FBI.

It took the authorities five months to identify the corpse found by a roadside outside Bogota in November 1999.

The body had shots to the head, the legs severed and the torso badly burnt.

But finally authorities identified it as that of Sister Luz Amparo Granada, a nun from a convent in the Candelaria, Bogota's historic centre.


The murdered nun was popular in this dangerous area of the capital, where she worked with drug addicts and prostitutes, conspicuous not just for her hard work but also her red hair and blue eyes -- rare in this Andean nation.

But prosecutors were sure that the murder had been committed within the cloister by someone close to her and arrested Sister Leticia Lopez, who occupied the next-door room.

After 17 months in custody the authorities were forced to release Sister Leticia as they could not find the forensic evidence needed to link her to the murder, which she vehemently denied having any knowledge of.

Determined prosecutors would not close the case and later found microscopic specks of blood between the floor boards of the murdered nun's room.

But the room had been repainted and the floor scrubbed with detergent.

Forensic tests

To detect more blood was beyond the resources of Colombia's forensic labs so a request was made to the FBI for a specialised team.

Using the most advanced techniques available the FBI was able to look through the new coats of paint and deep into the floor boards.

They found the walls splattered with blood and a trail on the floor that showed that Sister Luz Amparo's body had been dragged from her room to the back door of the convent.

The motive for the murder remains unclear, although sources within the investigation said that there had been tension between the two nuns and that the convicted Sister Leticia had disapproved of her more liberal brethren's friendship with prostitutes and street people.