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Polish couple killed in Peru Posted by on Jul 22, 2011 in Current News

I don’t like to share such sad news, but this one got me really upset…

If you follow news from Poland, you probably heard about the couple from Poland who was killed in Peru on May 27th  2011.

Today I read about some new evidence in the case.

The Polish couple killed while canoeing through the Peruvian jungle had not broken local customs, new information suggests, but rather they were hunted down by individuals bent on murder.

Jarosław Frąckiewicz (70), a retired professor from the Gdańsk University of Technology, disappeared with his wife Celina Mróz (58) in late May.

Frąckiewicz and Mróz arrived in Peru on April 28 with the idea of navigating several rivers through the jungle, a sport they had practiced in other countries including Egypt, Canada and India.

Throughout their trip they kept up a blog on the Internet relating the story of their adventure.
Family members in Poland sounded the alarm about their disappearance when the couple failed to return home on June 20 as planned.

Two Peruvian citizens from the Ashaninka tribe were arrested earlier this month, thanks to Indian trackers from the same tribe (plemię, szczep).

It had originally been postulated by investigators that the Poles had offended a small group of drunken Indians, by camping on a jungle settlement without permission (bez zgody).

However, a confession in the presence of the Peruvian police suggests that the Poles had not even alighted in the locality, and that they were slain on running water.

Roger Mauricio Ruiz, who has confessed to taking part in the murders, told police in a recorded interview that his 24-year-old nephew Fredy spotted the canoeists, describing them as “pelacaras” – the white bogeymen who allegedly prey on Indian tribesman. According to Ruiz, his nephew encouraged him to slaughter the outsiders.

Although Ruiz says that initially he didn’t want to go through with the plan, and besides, the Poles “were moving away”, they ultimately decided to carry out the crime. “We took guns and bows, and five people got into the boat and started chasing them,” he said.

In a further hearing whilst in the custody of armed Peruvian Naval Guards, Ruiz showed prosecutors where the attack too place. “This is where we caught up with them,” Ruiz said.

“We started to shoot from about 6-7 metres, without asking any questions. First Fredy shot the woman in the chest with a rifle, then I also shot the man in the chest with a rifle. Then another from our group shot at them with a bow. They later dismembered the bodies, weighted down the remains with rocks and sank them into the depths of the river, according to two witnesses who saw the suspected murderers rowing the Polish couple’s kayak.

A lumberjack (drwal) who overheard the shots was told that if he said anything, he too would be killed. “I was scared, because Roger had the reputation of a bad man,” the witness told prosecutors.

“It was said that a few years ago, he killed one of his relatives,” he added.

Earlier this month, elders from the Ashaninka tribe wrote an open letter to asking for forgiveness of both the Polish nation and Europeans in general, condemning what they described as an “isolated” act, of which they were “ashamed.” 


Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. John:

    Of course, although one might ask as to why did they take the risk also forget how many tourists, and even normal citizens, are murdered senselessly each year in touristy urban areas as well? It is indeed sad for the people in the village and tribe which this occurred as well.