About the Charles Horman Truth Project

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In 1976, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed Horman v. Kissinger asking what information the US had concerning the death of Charles Horman. Because of state secret classifications, the case was dismissed without prejudice.

The movie Missing, directed by Costa Gavras in 1982, told the story of Charles’ father Ed Horman’s search for his only son in the chaos of the aftermath of the coup in Santiago.  Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship lasted 17 years.

In 1998, Pinochet was arrested for human rights crimes in London and the Law Lords ruled that torture did not fall under “sovereign immunity” protection, and the Spanish extradition request for Pinochet was to be honored…but it wasn’t.  Pinochet was returned to Chile for ‘health’ reasons in 2000.

In 1999 the Clinton Administration declassified a State Department document from 1976 that suggested the case be investigated because it looked like US military intelligence had a hand in Charles Horman’s death.

In December of 2000 the Horman family filed a suit against Pinochet for the wrongful death of Charles Horman.

Finally, this year in January of 2015, Chilean judge Zepeda formally closed the investigation into the murders of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi when he issued his final verdict. We’ve waited many years for this decision of the Chilean court.  We are grateful for the ruling that the murders of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi constitute international human rights crimes.  We hope this will help prevent the commission of similar atrocities and will strengthen accountability for this kind of crime in the future.  

Two former Chilean intelligence officials, Pedro Espinoza and Rafael González,  have been found guilty and sentenced to prison time and civil damages for the murders of Frank and Charles. Espinoza is already serving a life prison term for associated crimes and was sentenced to seven additional years. González was found to be complicit in Charles’ murder and was sentenced to two years of police supervision. The ruling held that the killings resulted from a “secret investigation” whereby the United States Military Group in Santiago was surveilling the activities of American students and journalists living in Chile. The two men were murdered after the US Military Group passed on intelligence about them to the Chilean military intelligence.

The US Military Group was headed by an American Naval Intelligence Official, Captain Ray E. Davis at the time of the coup. A previous ruling approved by the Chilean Supreme Court in 2012, found that Davis had a role in the deaths of our loved ones.  Chile issued a request for the US to extradite Davis, who died before he could be located by the Chilean authorities. (More info here:

We have brought the charges against Davis to the attention of the Departments of Navy, State and the CIA, asking them to investigate.  The Dept of the Navy and State have responded assuring us that they are looking into the matter.  The CIA has not responded. We are following up our request with these agencies.

For more information about the recent judgment please see the following articles:

Jan 29, 2015 NYT article reporting the recent judgment:

El Mostrador on-line article from Chile

Cooperativa Press in Chile

CNN interview with judge Zepeda and our attorney Sergio Corvalan