Clients: Relatives of Hans Madisson

Relatives of Hans Madisson, a 24-year old who was forcibly disappeared and executed in 1982, joined the case against Lopez Grijalba as anonymous plaintiffs, out of fear of reprisals against them.


The Disappearance and Execution of Hans Madisson

Hans Madisson was twenty-four years old in 1982. He had recently moved to the Florencia Sur neighborhood of Tegucigalpa to live with his sister, Vicki, and to begin his engineering studies at the university.

On July 8, 1982. Hans Madisson called his sister, Vaike. He told her he was going to the headquarters of the General Staff to pick up a jacket from their brother, Gerardo Madisson, who, as a member of the military, worked at the General Staff headquarters. Hans Madisson left the Florencia Sur home of his sister Vicki at approximately 6:30 p.m. He never arrived at the General Staff headquarters to pick up the jacket, and he never returned home.

Approximately three days after the disappearance of Hans Madisson, on or
about July 11, 1991, Hans Madisson’s brother, Gerardo Madisson,  was ordered to appear before an officer at the General Staff. The officer explained that the commander-in-chief, General Alvarez, and Colonel Lopez Grijalba had ordered him to investigate the Hans Madisson case. The officer interrogated Gerardo Madisson and insinuated that Hans Madisson belonged to a left wing organization and used drugs. The next day, the same officer threatened Gerardo Madisson and warned him to stop searching for his brother.

On July 14, 1981 two DNI agents arrived at Vaike Madisson’s office.  The men told her that they had "gotten rid of’ Hans Madisson along the Carretera del Norte (the Northern Highway).  One of the DNI agents was a man named Florencio Caballero.

Meanwhile, the Madisson family continued their search for Hans Madisson.  Some time later, a bag with human body parts and a dental prosthesis like the one worn by Hans Madisson was found.  This was the family’s first confirmation that Hans had been killed.

Finally, on October 25, 1995, the body of Hans Madisson was exhumed from a spot along the Carretera del Norte.  His body showed signs of decapitation; multiple fractures of the skull due to blunt and sharp trauma: fractures in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th vertebras; and sharp trauma on both femurs. The cause of death was determined to be a bullet wound in the neck.

Four years later, in 1999, Hans Madisson’s remains were delivered to his family.

(Source: Reyes, et al. v. Lopez Grijalba, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida)