Felipe returned to New York following his vacations in Colombia at the beginning of 2016. He was worried about his friend Liliana Laserna’s mental health.
He began contacting her more frequently after he found out that her brother, former senator Juan Mario Laserna Jaramillo, had died in a traffic accident in June of that same year.
By this point in time, the hostility between the siblings about the inheritence that their father, Mario Laserna Pinzón, had left behind following his death in 2013 had been escalating and had reached physical aggression and the media.
In this interview a few years before his death, senator Juan Mario Laserna talks about how four siblings had been fighting for several years with their oldest sister, Dorotea Laserna, and how two of her sisters had sued Dorotea for the repatriation of several ranches and properties in Tolima.
Felipe began to worry again almost a year later in June of 2017 as the Laserna Jaramillos were mourning yet another death. This time it was Liliana’s mother, Mrs. Liliana Jaramillo Jaramillo.
He believed that her mother’s death would affect her even more considering that she was the only one in the family who was still fighting for her well-being.
They kept speaking frequently. Felipe helped Liliana promote some paintings that she had in the United States and would occasionally answer legal queries or share with her articles about topics that they both enjoyed.
About 10 minutes into a call in July of 2018, Liliana tells Felipe that her daughter, Jesseca Helene, had died about a year ago at the age of 18. Surprised, Felipe asked why she had not mentioned it when he had called her a few months prior following the death of her mother. Liliana responded that it was an awful tragedy that needed to be kept secret so that other scientists could keep working on finding a cure for autism.
“But what happened?” asked Felipe.
Liliana explained that the girl had passed away during the medical experiment that she was a part of along with 9 other minors.
When Felipe, a lawyer, questioned her about the reason that the researchers of the so-called “experiment” had given her, Liliana responded in a way that seemed to have come straight out of a movie script. “Since the experiment failed and 10 kids died,” she told him, “three of the researchers committed suicide.”
Given the gravity of the situation, Felipe began contacting some of their mutual friends to find out if they were aware of Liliana’s daughter’s death. Nobody knew anything. After several months, Felipe Montejo managed to get in contact with Catalina Laserna, Liliana’s sister who lives in Boston.
To no surprise, Catalina, shocked, was also unaware of the news. For a long time the sisters had been distanced by the family disputes about their inheritance and especially because, according to Felipe, Liliana never forgave Catalina for calling the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF – Colombian equivalent of Child Protective Services) on her and temporarily losing custody of her daughter, Jesseca Helene.
Catalina had alerted the ICBF after one of the ranch workers took a photo of the girl tied to a chair. It looked like the child had been further abused.
Due to the claim, Liliana Laserna Jaramillo was hospitalized from January 10th to 29th, 2008 at the mental health facility La Inmaculada, located at carrera 7a #68 – 70 in the country’s capital.
Despite their differences and according to Felipe’s account, Catalina got in contact with Liliana to ask her about her daughter. Liliana told her sister a very different version of the story. She told her that the girl was old enough to make her own decisions and had traveled to Chile.
When Felipe found out about this new story not only did he recommend a criminal attorney but he also decided to contact Liliana and Catalina’s older sister, Dorotea.
She also brought to light some worrisome claims.
Dorotea told Felipe that, several months ago, an acquaintance had run into Liliana and her boyfriend Camilo Fidel on a cruise ship through Egypt. The acquaintance had seen her crying on numerous occasions. Liliana told the person that her daughter had passed away during an autism trial.
Dorotea also mentioned to Felipe that she had contacted the ICBF in hopes of finding out where Jesseca Helene had ended up.
Felipe insisted that all of these stories not only sounded strange and outrageous but also deeply concerning. He told her what he thought: that Lilian’s boyfriend was the one responsible for the girl’s death. He also believed that Liliana’s own life was at imminent risk. Felipe Montejo advised Dorotea to immediately report the case to authorities.
Through a family friend on that same day, February 6th, 2019, Dorotea Laserna Jaramillo filed a report with the district attorney’s office.
The DA opened an investigation into the matter, intercepted Camilo Fidel’s phone, and, within a few months, infiltrated the few workers from the ranch in Sesquilé where the couple lived.
One of the ranch workers said they thought the girl had died in 2016 because, on a day in November of that year, the workers observed Liliana and Camilo for several hours burning something on one of the lots of the hacienda. In their account, the worker said that Camilo Fidel warned everybody not to get close because they were conducting a radioactive experiment that was very dangerous.
Three months after the investigation had begun and the investigators had found evidence that Camilo Fidel was planning on getting rid of Liliana, on May 9th, the District Attorney subpoenaed both of them and moved up the date on the arrest warrant for María Liliana Laserna Jaramillo with C.C. 51.625.575 from Bogotá and Camilo Fidel Pinzón Gómez with C.C. 79.865.650 from Bogotá.
The case is filed with the 4th Circuit of Zipaquirá, under judge José Alejandro Hoffman.
Liliana was sent to the Buen Pastor penitentiary and Camilo Pinzón is in jail in Zipaquirá. Both were charged with the forced disappearance of Jesseca Helene Laserna Jaramillo with C.C. 1.073.249.990 of Mosquera, Cundinamarca.
During the hearing, both Liliana and Camilo plead innocent.
After being detained, Liliana Laserna requested authorization to make her first phone call. She spoke with Felipe. Not her friend Felipe Montejo. This time, the person on the phone was Felipe López Caballero, son and grandson of presidents of Colombia and the influential entrepreneur founder of the media company Semana.
Liliana had his direct number because, a few years back, she had sold him a 200m² apartment adjacent to where Felipe López Caballero currently lives in a building in the neighborhood El Nogal.
Felipe López Caballero says the apartment “was a steal, because those apartments are really old and need to be remodeled.”
Due to the need to sell off properties in order to sustain her daughter’s health, Liliana sold this property to López Caballero in a building where potential buyers are subject to an extensive background check and must be approved by a very selective board of co-owners.
López Caballero’s offer, despite being low, was opportune for Liliana Laserna because she was having trouble liquidating assets and needed the money to finance her expenses.
The day she was deprived of her liberty, Liliana Laserna called Felipe López to inform him that she was detained and was being accused of the disappearance of her daughter.
Laserna also told López Caballero that Jesseca Helene had died in Chile where they had sent her to be treated.
She told him that she had received her daughter’s body and that they cremated her in Bogotá.
The public hearings about the legality of the warrant, the charges, and the arrest of Liliana Laserna and Camilo Fidel Pinzón Gómez occurred from May 10th to 13th. During the testimonies provided, new evidence was discovered that could lead to more arrests.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the third and fourth chapters: The Parachute Jump and The Only Heir.
Note: Dorotea Laserna, Liliana’s older sister, declined to offer her version of the facts for this article.