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Netflix series about Chile murder case grips audience 

Chilean production company Fabula has helped adapt the Viviana Haeger case for Netflix. Haeger disappeared in 2010 and her body was found after 42 days, with her husband named the prime suspect. While the series was overall well received, Haeger’s daughters voiced some criticism.

After hitting Netflix, a show about the Viviana Haeger case quickly ascended into the top 10 of the platform’s non-English language shows, but not everyone is happy.

Oscar winning director Pablo Larraín adapted the real-life story with his production company Fabula and pitched it to Netflix. 

When Haeger disappeared in 2010, media coverage was scarce at first, but the public’s interest grew as the investigation went on. Haeger’s husband found her body after 42 days in her own house. In these circumstances, authorities named him the prime suspect, but an investigation established his innocence. 

The killer was convicted only in 2017.

Watch the trailer here:

The Case

On June 29, 2010, Jaime Anguita said goodbye to his wife, Viviana Haeger, and left the home to drop the kids off at school and go to work.

But at around 1pm, he received a call claiming his wife had been kidnapped. The caller demanded a ransom. An hour later, the eldest daughter called Anguita because her mother hadn’t picked her up after school. Anguita then informed the police, which started a massive search around Puerto Varas.

Treating the case as a kidnapping, police observed Anguita’s house and expanded the search into nearby regions. But the case stalled.

On Aug. 10, Anguita called the police, saying he found his wife’s body in his home’s mezzanine after following a foul smell. The body was found in a fetal position.

Accusations of sloppy police work arose immediately. Authorities believed Haeger had killed herself by ingesting herbicide. But Haeger’s extended family requested an exhumation. Another two-year investigation then established that her hands were tied and the cause of death was asphyxiation. In response, six officers involved in the investigation were sanctioned and Anguita named the prime suspect.

In another twist, José Pérez Mancilla confessed to the crime in 2015. He had worked for Anguita and accused him of offering money in exchange for killing Haegar and robbing valuables from the house.

Mancilla said he confessed because he was never fully paid. But another two-year investigation found that Anguita was innocent. Meanwhile, Mancilla was convicted for homicide and robbery.

Anguita, who was preemptively arrested, was released and sued the state over negligence in 2019. While his case was rejected, higher court rulings on his appeals are pending.

The Netflix Series

42 Days of Darkness premiered on May 11 on Netflix. Produced by Fabula, Larraín was executive producer and Claudia Huaiquimilla and Gaspar Antillo the directors.

The series was well received by critics and fans. Haeger’s daughters criticized Netflix and Fabula, however.

In a column for newspaper El Llanquihue they wrote that they were never asked for input. “The story might be public, but it is still our story,” they wrote.

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