Experts to probe death of Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda

SANTIAGO, Chile - An international team of genomics experts and forensic specialists said Wednesday it will study the remains of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda to try to solve the cause of his death.

See Full Article

The socialist poet died in the chaos following Chile's 1973 military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Some people have speculated he was poisoned by agents of the right-wing dictatorship.

Neruda's body was exhumed in 2013, but tests showed no toxic agents in his bones. Even so, Chile's government said in 2015 that "it's clearly possible and highly probable that a third party" was involved in his death, although it warned that more tests needed to be carried out.

The remains of Neruda's bones and teeth will be analyzed by a lab at Canada's McMaster University's Ancient DNA Center and the University of Copenhagen's Department of Forensic Medicine.

The panel of experts will focus on identifying pathogenic bacteria that might have caused Neruda's death. The researchers say they will use techniques to "extract, purify and enrich fragments of the bacterial DNA," which they hope will yield genomic data that will help solve the nearly 43-year old mystery surrounding his death.

"The search for the truth of the death of the poet, Pablo Neruda, is a forensic challenge. We hope that the work of the Chilean Human Rights Program and the scientists will contribute to the reconciliation between the various groups in Chile," forensic geneticist Niels Morling, director of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement.

Neruda was best known for his love poems. But he was also a leftist politician and friend of Marxist President Salvador Allende, who killed himself rather than surrender to troops during the Sept. 11, 1973, coup led Pinochet.

Neruda, who was 69 and had prostate cancer, was traumatized by the coup and the persecution and killing of his friends. He planned to go into exile, where he would have been an influential voice against the dictatorship.

But a day before his planned departure, he was taken by ambulance to a clinic in Santiago where he had been treated for cancer and other ailments. Neruda officially died there Sept. 23 from natural causes. But suspicions that the dictatorship had a hand in the death remained long after Chile returned to democracy in 1990.

Although the tests carried out after the exhumation of Neruda's remains showed no signs that he was poisoned, his family and driver demanded further investigation. The judge investigating the case has asked for testing for substances that were not looked for in the first round of tests.


Latest Entertainment News

  • Man arrested outside Miranda Kerr's home charged with mayhem

    Entertainment CTV News
    Los Angeles prosecutors have charged an Australian man in an attack on a security guard outside supermodel Miranda Kerr's home earlier this month. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says 29-year-old Shaun Anthony Haywood was charged with attempted murder, aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon on Tuesday. Source
  • Ciara, Seahawks' Russell Wilson announce pregnancy

    Entertainment CTV News
    In this July 13, 2016, file photo, NFL football player Russell Wilson, of the Seattle Seahawks, left, and Ciara arrive at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) Source
  • Lady Gaga jumps in for 'Carpool Karaoke' with James Corden

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    There were no wild costumes or caution tape - or at least, not on Lady Gaga. The singer was the latest artist to ride shotgun with Late Late Show host James Corden on Carpool Karaoke. The 30-year-old songstress donned a glittery gold blouse (pussy bow and all) as she sang her new hit 'Perfect Illusion' and some classic Gaga like Bad Romance, complete of course, with the monster claws. Source
  • Justin Timberlake in hot water after posting ballot box selfie

    Entertainment CTV News
    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Justin Timberlake flew from California to Tennessee in order to vote early, and state officials say that's great - but he shouldn't have taken a selfie at the ballot box. The singer posted a picture of himself at the voting booth on Instagram Monday , noting that if he could make that effort, then there are "No excuses, my good people!" Source
  • Justin Timberlake's ballot selfie highlights mixed laws

    Entertainment CTV News
    Now even Justin Timberlake has been forced to deal with the question of whether a ballot selfie is legal. Timberlake flew from California to Tennessee to vote early this week, but his posting of an image of himself at the voting booth on Instagram on Monday drew questions about whether he was breaking the law. Source
  • Brad Pitt 'safety plan' investigation extended

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    An investigation into Brad Pitt’s parenting skills has been extended by officials at California’s Department of Child and Family Services. The voluntary “safety plan” was implemented last month, shortly after Pitt’s wife Angelina Jolie filed for divorce amid reports the actor had been abusive on a family plane ride. Source
  • Missing backup dancer for Rihanna found safe

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Shirlene Quigley, a 32-year-old backup dancer who has worked with stars like Beyoncé , Rihanna, and Missy Elliott, is missing. Rihanna posted a video of Quigley on Instagram Monday, asking fans and followers to contact the Bergen County Police Department in New Jersey with any useful information on her whereabouts. Source
  • Woman sues Michael Jackson estate for alleged molestation 30 years ago

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    An unnamed woman has filed a new lawsuit against Michael Jackson, accusing the late King of Pop of molesting her three decades ago. The woman claims the Thriller singer started abusing her in 1986 after inviting her and her mother inside the Jackson family compound in Encino, California while they were star spotting. Source
  • Toddler's Gord Downie Halloween costume goes viral

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A photo of a toddler dressed as Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie is making its rounds on social media. And he just won Halloween, according to everyone. If you haven’t figured out your Halloween costume plans just yet, take note. Source