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MISSING PERSONS

The “child painter of Málaga” officially dies today after 29 years missing

David Guerrero Guevara walked out of his house at age 14 and was never heard from again

David Guerrero Guevara as he looked when he went missing.
David Guerrero Guevara as he looked when he went missing.

David Guerrero Guevara, who disappeared in Málaga 29 years ago at the age of 14, will officially die today.

A court in the southern city is scheduled to hold a session to have Guerrero officially declared deceased. Nobody has heard anything from him since he left his home on April 6, 1987.

Known popularly as “the child painter of Málaga,” because of his talent for art, Guerrero has technically been alive all this time because no death certificate was ever issued.

David’s father died in October 2015, and surviving relatives have been unable to receive their share of the inheritance because the missing boy – who would be 43 today – is legally still one of the heirs.

This situation has forced the family to request that David be formally declared dead, nearly 30 years after his disappearance.

A press clipping of a story about David’s disappearance.
A press clipping of a story about David’s disappearance.

Under Spanish Civil Code rules, David’s mother will state her request, followed by statements from other relatives. A report will be issued, and the missing person will be officially recognized as being deceased.

Information about the Wednesday session was made public ahead of time, in case anybody had any new leads as to David Guerrero’s fate or whereabouts. But nobody came forward, and the clues that once led investigators to Switzerland and Portugal came to nothing long ago.

David Guerrero Guevara was an introverted teen and an excellent painter for his age. A few days before going missing he had been thrilled to hear the news that a prestigious art gallery in Málaga, La Maison, wanted one of his paintings to hang in a collective exhibition about Easter.

He did not go to the art gallery, as he had told his mother he would

David painted a “Christ of the Good Death” and attended the gallery opening. Relatives said he seemed “very happy.”

On April 6, 1987, David went to school. His teachers did not notice anything amiss, although a classmate recalled that David had complained about a headache and stomach cramps, and had said he would not eat his sandwich lunch.

Back home, at 6pm, David refused to eat the sandwich once more, a fact that surprised his mother. Instead he had a yogurt, then picked up a bag containing his art material, his bus pass and his school card. He walked out of the house, never to return.

He did not go to the art gallery, as he had told his mother he would. He did not show up for his art class, either.

The mystery is officially being laid to rest with him on Wednesday.

English version by Susana Urra.

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