A man who fled Colombia in 1963 thinking he had inadvertently killed his cousin was finally tracked down in Brazil, 58 years after the incident — and told he hadn't killed anyone.

Humberto Botero had fled to Brazil thinking he was responsible for burning his cousin to death: The cousin, Hugo, had spilled fuel on himself while moving a barrel of gasoline, and handed Humberto a match, which he lit. "He gave me a box of matches. I lit one and he went up like a torch," Colombia's Noticias Caracol channel cited Humberto as saying recently.

Humberto's sister Marleny said "he went away thinking [Hugo] would die, since they found him in bad shape." The family sought him out in local prisons, but he was not among the inmates. His mother Angélica Arroyave assumed he had died.

Earlier this year, Humberto's son put out a message on a social platform seeking out his father's family. And he found them. Humberto recently spoke online to his cousin Hugo who told him he had forgiven him "long ago," and to his 95-year-old mother. "It's an inexplicable emotion," she said, "happiness on the one hand and sadness on the other."

The families could not yet unite because of pandemic restrictions.


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