(CNN)John Jairo Gasparini drove his motorcycle into town on March 18 to buy gloves and face masks, required by the Venezuelan government to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus.
Forced disappearances are increasing in Venezuela -- and the coronavirus is making them last longer, rights group says
When his sister, Sugled Gasparini, waved him goodbye, she didn't know it was the beginning of a nightmare that has yet to reach its conclusion.
Instead of returning home to El Hatillo, a leafy neighborhood to the southeast the capital Caracas, Jairo a mechanic in the town, was detained, according to his sister, by the Venezuela Directorate for Military Counter-Intelligence (DGCIM in the Spanish acronym), one of the most feared forces in the security apparatus of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
His disappearance was one of many in recent months at the hands of Maduro's forces, according to a new report by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, which claims the government is using "enforced disappearances" as a tool of political repression.
The government, via Attorney General Tarek William Saab, dismissed the report, telling CNN the organization had no competence to judge the situation in Venezuela.
Although DGCIM is only meant to operate within the armed forces as a policing force, it is known to have detained civilians, a sign of increasing forceful repression by the Maduro government. It's not clear how much the AG Office knows about their activities or raids.
But Sugled didn't know this: for the first 10 days after Jairo's detention, she only knew her brother was missing.
In an interview with CNN, Sugled spoke of the anguish of not knowing what happened. She and her mother looked for Jairo in hospitals and morgues, and even among the large Venezuelan diaspora abroad. Sugled sent a picture of her brother through WhatsApp chats of migrants as far as Ecuador but heard nothing.
Three days after his disappearance, Jairo's girlfriend officially filed a missing person report to the Venezuelan police, but the police took five days to respond. They told her boyfriend might have been detained. Jairo's girlfriend declined to speak to CNN due to her fear of security surveillance in V