The researchers who discovered and identified the remains of Antanas Kraujelis-Siaubūnas, Lithuania's last partisan killed in 1965, told a press conference on Thursday they faced regular attempts to mislead them.
Also attending the press conference, Janina Syvokienė-Kraujelyte, one of Kraujelis' six sisters, said relatives started looking for his remains soon after his death. One of the sisters went to Utena when she learnt of their brother's death. But local Soviet police refused to let her see the brother's body.
Dalius Žygelis, a senior historian at Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania, who has looked for witnesses since 1995, said there have been many false testimonies, including the one that the partisan body's was buried at a gravel pit in Utena.
The researchers suspect it was the original plan but the partisan's body was eventually taken to Vilnius due to some change in circumstances.
"In many cases, they tried to mislead us, and that information was distorted […] It's hard to say if it was done consciously or not, but witnesses would find us. It's highly likely that witnesses were periodically sent to mislead us and push us in a wrong direction," Žygelis said.
Despite all difficulties, Kraujelis' sister says the discovery of his remains is a victory.
"He lived in an occupied Lithuania but was free, refused to recognize the occupying government, and used to tell people that Lithuania would be free and we would live in our homeland without the occupying forces," she said.
The researchers say they hoped of finding Kraujelis' remains after the remains of partisan commander Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas were identified last year.
The cemetery's rather detailed registry with burial places and dates helped the researchers to do so, despite the fact that people were buried rather chaotically and without a clear order.
One of the key documents which helped identify the remains of the last partisan was a very detailed report of a pathologist in Utena, dated March 18, 1965.
The remains of another five people with gunshot injuries were also found during the archeological research. They are yet to be identified.
Kraujelis-Siaubūnas went into the woods to fight the Soviet occupation in 1948 and was involved in partisan activities in the Aukštaitija (Highlands) region. He shot himself on March 17, 1965, while encircled by KGB officers.
Archeologists had been looking for his remains for several decades.