Police investigate homeless man burnt alive in Colombia’s capital

Posted on May 16 2014 - 10:33pm by Today News
Marco Tulio Sevillano, also known as 'Calidoso'  (Photo: Natalia Londoño Ortiz)

An investigation is underway regarding the death of a homeless man who was burned alive by a group of unknown assailants in Bogota last week, local media reported on Friday.

Marco Tulio Sevillano, also known by the nickname “Calidoso”, was doused with gasoline and set alight by a group of strangers while he was sleeping amongst other homeless people near Bogota’s Javeriana University on Friday May 2, El Tiempo newspaper reported.

Calidoso succumbed to his extensive injuries and passed away due to massive organ failure after spending six days at the San Ignacio hospital.

According to Blu Radio, Calidoso’s dog and his three cats were also burned to death in the gasoline attack.

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Colombia’s Inspector General, Alejandro Ordoñez, has warned that Calidoso’s murder is an indication of the authorities’ failure to keep homeless people safe, Caracol Radio reported

“It’s an expression of cruelty that draws our attention in many aspects. It makes us reflect on the public policy of the homeless,” Ordoñez said.

“As a society we grieve, and we are shocked, but we must also draw attention to the duties of institutional protection to the inhabitants of the street. If there are people [living] in the street, it has great social and political significance,” he added.

A tribute was held at the exit of the tunnel near the university where Calidoso used to sleep on Wednesday. More than 2,000 people including students, managers, residents from the area and members of the homeless community gathered to bid farewell.

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A group of students from Javeriana University are determined that Calidoso’s murder does not go unpunished. A wave of indignation about the attack has occurred on social media, with various Facebook groups springing up in dedication to Calidoso, El Tiempo reported.

According to one of the students, “We called him ‘Calidoso’ because he treated everyone with affection. He greeted us and took care of us and even helped out with catching our transportation.”

A number of reasons for the attack have been put forward. Among them are an act of retaliation from other homeless people, as well as various right-wing groups committing an act of “social cleansing”.

The director of the Metropolitan Police of Bogota, General Edgar Sanchez, has offered a reward of 20 million pesos for those who provide information about who is responsible for the murder. No arrests have been made.


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