In a case that has been a huge news story in Spain for the past three years, the death of 17-year-old Marta del Castillo continues to cause shock, even though her killer has been found guilty and sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Marta del Castillo was just seventeen when she went missing on Jan 4 2009. Following a major police investigation, Miguel Carcaño, now aged 21 was arrested. First he confessed to the crime saying he had killed the girl and then got a friend to help him dispose of the body by throwing it into the Guadalquivir river. An extensive search of the river and its banks found no sign of Marta's body. In March 2009, Carcaño changed his story saying that he and a different friend had raped Marta and then killed her. This time he said the body was in a trash container. Police spent weeks searching through every inch of the local rubbish dump, again without finding Marta's body. Later again, he said there had been no rape.
Eventually the police charged Carcaño and also arrested and charged his stepbrother, Javier Delgado, the stepbrother's girlfriend, Mará Garcia and Javier García, a friend of Carcaño. García, who was a minor at the time of the crime was acquitted of murder and rape but was found guilty of helping Carcaño cover up the crime in the spring of 2011.
El Pais reports that on Friday Jan 13, the court in Seville, handed down a sentence of 20 years to Carcaño after he was found guilty of murdering Marta with an ashtray and then hiding her body. The others were acquitted much to the outrage of Marta's family and friends. The prosecution had been looking for a sentence of at least 52 years.
Marta's father, Antonio del Castillo, said that the decision of the court "made no sense" He continued "There is no justice in this country, Eva [Marta's mother] is upstairs crying, devastated; she cannot believe it and neither can we."
As if that wasn't bad enough for the family, Carcaño has still not told anyone what he really did with the body, So Marta has no grave and the family can not grieve for her properly. The judge in charge of the case, Francisco de Asís Molina, has suggested other search areas to the police following further evidence coming to light during the trial.
In a speech in Andalucia on Jan 14, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy remembered Marta del Castillo and confirmed that the Ley del Menor (Minor's law) needs to be reformed as was promised by his party, the Partido Popular in the run up to the recent elections.
The search for Marta will go on until her body is finally found.