By now you’ve probably heard that Vancouver Whitecaps player Yordy Reyna has been questioned by Peruvian authorities in relation to the death of Peruvian Volleyball star Alessandra Chocano (16). We have held off on writing about the incident until this point because thus far it has been a bit difficult to ascertain exactly what was going on. Part of the reason for this is that Peru has a tabloid culture quite similar to that of the U.K. This means that there are a lot of yellow journalism outlets which publish sensationalized stories, especially about celebrities. Imagine if you were a Spanish speaker trying to figure out what was going on in the U.K. with only Google translated articles from the Sun, and you begin to understand the challenge of writing about this situation. Today though the results of Alessandra Chocano’s integrated necropsy became public knowledge. The report states that Chocano died of natural causes and was at high risk of suffering a heart attack. This information has been made available to the prosecutor, Mr. Humberto Ruiz, and he is in the process of making his decision on whether or not to lay charges against the various individuals who were present at Chocano’s death.
There has been a lot of discussion about Reyna’s involvement in this event. Whitecaps fans have wondered whether Reyna will be back or indeed if he should even be allowed back. I have discussed this with some of you and I have some thoughts on the matter. However since it’s a confusing situation I think it’s best that for now we just stick to what we know for sure happened. I will provide a timeline of events with as little editorializing as possible and you can make up your own mind. To get around the problem of Peru’s tabloid culture I’ve researched every outlet sourced in this article to make sure they’re above board. I’ve done my best to weed out any bad ones but if you see some fake news that’s tricked me, be sure to let me know and I'll pull it as soon as I can. I’d also like to thank @VancouverArmada on twitter for keeping us English speakers updated on this story. The story is still progressing but things seem to be coming to a head now. If I have missed any important details please don’t hesitate to send them my way. With that, let us begin.
The Peruvian Volleyball Federation releases a statement on the death of one of its athletes at a gathering with friends. The player is 16 year old Alessandra Chocano.
Erick Collantes (25) is brought in by police for questioning. Two minors, (who’s names cannot be published) with initials KM and JLB are also summoned to speak with police. KM reveals that Yordy Reyna was present at the ill fated party. JLB identifies himself as Chocano’s boyfriend.
Yordy Reyna is summoned to speak with authorities. Reyna did not speak to press but his lawyer, Carlos Castillo, denied that Reyna was a friend of Chocano. Castillo stated and still maintains that Reyna and Chacano had never met before the night of her death. Castillo also confirms that Reyna was renting the apartment in which Chocano died. Chocano’s father, Jhony Chocano, gives a statement in which he calls for swift justice on those responsible for his daughter’s death.
Chocano’s parents speak to media after being allowed to see their daughter's body. Both parents are very upset and are convinced that their daughter was sexually assaulted before her death. Chocano’s body had some scratch marks and bruising and her parents believed that these were defensive wounds that Chocano received from her attacker.
Authors note: This section briefly cited a local TV presenter named Magaly Medina. I have since learned that she is known to spread sensationalized stories and has had legal troubles for defaming people in the past. Thus I felt it was best to remove the reference to her.
Congresswoman and former Peruvian national volleyball player Leyla Chihuán criticizes Reyna’s actions and expresses concern over the treatment of Chocano. Chihuán tells La Republica that some of her former teammates had been treated badly, even violently, when refusing the advances of national team soccer players. Chihuán also expresses concerns about the delayed release of Chocano’s autopsy and questions if Reyna is using his celebrity to pressure authorities into acquitting him.
It is probably worth mentioning that the Peruvian court system is well known for corruption. The U.S. State Department considers the court system corrupt, 8 out of 10 households in Peru consider the courts one of the most corrupt institutions in the country, and up to 3 in 10 people reported paying a bribe to police or a court official. Chihuán’s concerns are therefore, to say the least, not totally unreasonable.
The nightclub at which Reyna, Chocano, and a number of their respective friends began their night is closed down for allowing minors to enter the premises.
Yordy Reyna gives his first public statement and vows to cooperate fully with the authorities.
JLB speaks to local new station ATV Noticias. His face and identity are not revealed because he is only 17. JLB says that he and Chocano went into a room by themselves. JLB states that the two began to have sex. He says that Chocano began to bleed from her genitals but told him to continue. Apparently Chocano rose from the bed before suddenly passing out. JLB called the other people in the apartment into the room and the group attempted to perform first aid. When these attempts were unsuccessful, an ambulance took too long to arrive, the group took Chocano to Casimiro Ulloa Hospital. Unfortunately, it was too late for the 16 year old, who was dead by the time she arrived (about 6:00 AM).
Preliminary tests on Chocano’s body become public knowledge. Tests revealed that Chocano was not pregnant and had not consumed any alcohol (though other illicit substances were not ruled out at this time). Forensic experts also did not find any evidence of defensive wounds or skin under Chocano’s fingernails (people who are being attacked often use their nails to scratch their assailant) though these results were only preliminary.
Chocano’s family reveal pictures they had secretly taken of her body (the morgue forbade them from taking pictures). The pictures show bruising on Chocano’s face and neck as well as swelling on her fingers.
The owner of the nightclub at which Chocano and Reyna allegedly first met provides the security camera footage to authorities.
A friend of Chocano comes forward and provides Whatsapp messages which show Chocano telling that friend that she was invited to a party being organized by Yordy Reyna. It is implied in the messages that it was Reyna himself who invited Chocano, casting extreme doubt on Reyna’s claims that he did not know Chocano previously and raising concerns that he made false statements to police. Also revealed in these messages, as reported by La republica, Chocano had been feeling unwell a few days prior to the party and had visited a Japanese style spa. Chocano was also receiving medication for acute tonsillitis.
Police take semen samples from male partygoers in an attempt to establish if any of them had sexual relations with Chocano.
ATV reports that, according to the lawyer of the nightclub, Reyna ordered the bouncers at the nightclub to allow Chocano and her friend in to the club. It is emphasized that Reyna was shown a picture of them and seemed to recognize them, Reyna was told that the two did not have proper I.D but instructed the bouncers to step aside regardless.
Diario Ojo reports that police are beginning to move away from the theory that Chocano’s death was a homocide due to lack of evidence
Dirincri (Peruvian national police) head, Jose Baella tells Peru21 that Chocano died of “natural causes” and was at high risk for a heart attack. He says that police are consulting with doctors to better understand how this death may have come about. At this time no explanation has been given for Chocano’s bruising or traces of blood on her genitals. Chocano’s father vows to have his daughter’s body exhumed and reexamined.
The prosecutor, Humberto Ruiz, Has asked for access to the phone communications of those involved but there is no word, as far as I can see, on if he’s been granted this or not.
Yordy Reyna holds a press conference. He insists on his innocence and says he wasn’t aware Chocano was underage when he told bouncers to allow her into the club. Reyna’s lawyer reveals that Investigators don’t consider anybody who was present at the apartment to be suspects in Chocano’s case.
Later in the day ATV noticias confirms that police will not be pressing charges against anybody in relation to the death of Chocano.
Just when the story seemed to be coming to a close, La Republica is reporting that Peruvian Police are recommending charges be pressed against Reyna for misrepresenting the facts of the case when questioned by police. Peruvian authorities still do not believe that Chocano was killed but they suspect that Reyna made false statements. Daniela Araujo Gonzales, a friend of Reyna with whom he rented the apartment in which Chocano passed away, is also under suspicion. One of Reyna’s underage friends is accused of the theft of Chocano’s phone. Carlos Castillo, Reyna’s lawyer, has confirmed that the prosecutors office has the police report outlining these allegations but says he doesn’t know the specifics. This development will lead a to a number of questions. The most pressing of which being: Why did the police allow Reyna to leave the country if they knew this was a possibility? If they didn’t know it was a possibility why did they only find out now? If their investigation wasn’t finished why was Reyna allowed to leave? If Chocano wasn’t murdered why did Reyna lie? Why didn’t Castillo stop him? Did Reyna lie to save his public image against the advice of his lawyer or did Castillo instruct him to do so? Someone, perhaps many people, really screwed up their job.