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Missing girl whose disappearance gripped Argentina found dead

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Candela Rodriguez was missing since August 22
  • She was found inside a garbage bag Wednesday
  • The state news agency reports that her family received an extortion call
  • The caller threatened to kill Candela if her father did not return some money

Buenos Aires, Argentina (CNN) -- The body of a girl whose disappearance triggered a public outcry in Argentina was found naked inside a garbage bag in Buenos Aires Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

It was a tragic ending to the story of Candela Rodriguez, 11, who became an icon and symbol for the more than 200 missing children in the country.

"My God, they killed my daughter!" Candela's mother, Carola Labrador, shouted at the scene after identifying the body, the state-run Telam news agency reported.

Candela's family went to the media immediately after she went missing on August 22. But it was when social media sites like Twitter picked up and shared her case that Candela became a top story. Argentinean celebrities called for her safe return home, and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner met with Labrador.

But all the attention did not save the young girl. On Thursday, people placed cards and candles in a makeshift memorial at her home.

Police are investigating the motive for Candela's kidnapping and killing, though early indications point to an extortion plot against her father.

Candela's father, Alfredo Rodriguez, is serving a three-year prison sentence for belonging to a "street pirate" gang, Telam reported. The girl's aunt received a call after her disappearance from someone who threatened to kill Candela if her father did not return some money he owed, the agency reported.

Police located a house in which they believe Candela was held and were searching it, Telam reported.

Her body was found in a lot where a demolished building once stood, by someone who was sifting through trash there.