Severed Foot Found in Lagoon Belonged to Man in Witness Protection

A severed foot found by a group of children back in 2019 has now been identified as that of Justino Cordovilla, a convicted drug trafficker who went missing after turning witness against his former associates.

The Civil Guard Command of Madrid confirmed on Monday that Cordovilla had been reported as missing two months before the foot was found. He was under witness protection at the time.

Cordovilla was arrested in 2009 in Costa Rica with 6 kilos of cocaine and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison.

After six months in prison, he began to cooperate with authorities and was able to help convict several members of the gang he was a part of.

He was then extradited to Spain under a witness protection program. As of 2019 it was believed Cordovilla was living in Collado Villalba, a medium-sized town located to the north-west Madrid.

Authorities believe that Cordovilla may have been the victim of a revenge killing attack for his betrayal of the gang, however they are still investigating other possibilities for the discovery of his foot.

The severed foot was found in the Laguna del Campillo in the municipality of Rivas next to the Jarama river.

Originally authorities thought the foot could have been that of a man injured during a strong storm that hit the Arganda del Rey area in the days before its discovery.

However, no injuries were reported as a result of the storm, despite the structural damage it caused, and this theory was ruled out.

The foot was then sent by the Civil Guard to the Forensic Anatomical Institute for analysis with hopes of identifying who it belonged to. They were able to conclude it belonged to a middle-aged Caucasian man who may have died a while ago.

Authorities eventually linked the severed foot to the unsolved disappearance of Cordovilla.

On June 9, 2019 the Collado Villalba country club organized an excursion to attend a bullfight in Las Ventas.

Upon leaving, it was discovered that Cordovilla was no longer among those on the trip. His friends and family subsequently searched for him in Madrid but were unsuccessful.

Cordovilla's sister recently took a DNA test that was sent to the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Science. This confirmed that the foot belonged to Cordovilla.

Investigators are continuing to work out to find out exactly what happened to him and are collecting testimonies from the bullfighting club and Cordovilla's friends and family.

Newsweek has contacted the Civil Guard Command of Madrid for comment.

Stock image of a man in handcuffs holding a bag of cocaine. Justino Cordovilla was put on witness protection after being convicted for drug traffiking. A severed foot that was found in 2019 has been identified as his. Getty Images