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‘He Was Doing What He Loved to Do’: New York City Employee Killed While Vacationing In Chile on His Way Back to Airbnb Rental

A Stapleton, New York, man was shot to death while vacationing in Santiago, Chile, according to reports.

Eric Eugene Gavin went missing while on vacation and was later found in the morgue by the Santiago Police.

According to his family, the 38-year-old had gone out alone to get dinner and was shot multiple times in an apparent robbery just a half mile from his Airbnb rental in downtown Santiago on Jan. 14

The person Garvin was traveling with reported him missing on Jan. 17 to both the Santiago Police Department and the U.S. Embassy Santiago. The two travelers were scheduled to travel on Jan. 15 from Chile to Argentina, but Garvin never checked out of his rental. His wallet, luggage, passport and personal belongings were found in the Airbnb rental.

The Chilean news publication Chvnoticias reported that Garvin’s body was identified by his travel companion at the morgue. His body had been in the morgue for an entire week before being identified.

“Eric Garvin’s crime occurred on the night of January 14, raising a series of questions regarding the chronology of the murder. His body spent more than a week in the Legal Medical Service without being recognized, however, a friend was able to corroborate his identity and give certainty about his passage through Chile.”

The family was notified of Garvin’s death on Jan. 21. His father, retired United States Air Force Colonel Eric D. Garvin Sr., shared the tragic news on Facebook on Jan. 23.

“As I write this post, my heart and Anna’s heart are very heavy. This is the darkest chapter of our lives because we are living every parent’s worst nightmare,” wrote Mr. Garvin. “Our son, Eric Eugene Garvin went missing in Santiago, Chile on Saturday, Jan 14th in the evening. He was doing what he loved to do, which was travel aboard. He’s likely been to more than 40 Countries. Eric was 38 years old. On Saturday, January 21st my wife Anna and I received tragic news from Chile. Our son was finally found by the Santiago Police in a hospital morgue.”

According to Garvin Sr., his son was killed by three or four assailants. The grieving father traveled to Chile with his daughter on Jan. 24 to bring his son’s body back to the United States. Garvin also thanked the public for their prayers and love as the family copes with the tragedy.

“Anna, Naomi and I have received an abundance of love, prayers and donations, which we profoundly appreciate. We are speechless about this amazing outpouring of love. The first few days we couldn’t see any light in this tragic news, but today we are beginning to see a glimmer of light and hope. Your prayers and your love are helping us see to the light again.”

Garvin Sr. added that the family would be met by officials from the US Embassy in Santiago.

Garvin worked for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York. Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York released a statement about Garvin’s death, calling it a “gut-wrenching tragedy.”

“My condolences are with the family and friends of Eric Garvin,” said Schumer. “Eric worked in public service and this is a gut-wrenching tragedy for all who knew him. I will remain in contact with the family and with the United States State Department to pursue justice and to provide comfort and support to the Garvin family.”

Garvin’s grandmother is Marjorie Garvin, a prominent Staten Island activist who worked to raise voter awareness in the Black community.

The assailants are still at large. U.S. authorities are monitoring the local investigation.

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