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article imageBoth parents of dead 12-year-old Asunta detained, motive found

By Anne Sewell     Sep 27, 2013 in Crime
Santiago De Compostela - In the case of the adopted, Chinese-born, 12-year-old girl who was found dead in a woodland in Spain, both the mother and her ex-husband were detained by police as they investigate the murder, and a possible motive has been uncovered. UPDATED.
Digital Journal reported on the tragic story of walkers in a woodland in the Galician countryside near the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela, discovering the body of a 12-year-old girl, Asunta Yong Fang Basterra Porto. The discovery occurred just hours after the girl had been reported missing by her parents.
It was later reported that the adoptive mother of Asunta, 44-year-old Rosario Porto Ortego, was arrested in connection with the crime.
The arrest was due to inconsistencies in a story Porto told the police about a break in during July, where she said someone had tried to strangle Asunta.
As Spanish detectives continue to investigate the crime, they also took Porto's ex-husband, journalist Alfonso Basterra (49) into custody for questioning in the murder.
It seems that the place where Asunta's body was discovered by two walkers on their way to a discotheque was located just five kilometers from a country property in A Póboa, Montouto used by her mother, Porto. The luxury property is now under investigation, as authorities think it may hold the key to the motive for the murder.
The murder is thought to have occurred at around 9 p.m. on Saturday night, which is about the same time Asunta's mother, Porto, was seen leaving the country house in A Póboa. Police report that according to neighbors in the area, they saw Porto leaving the house in a rush at about 8.45 p.m., telling them that she was going to “collect” her daughter.
So far police have found rope on the property that matches rope found in the forest close to the girl's body.
Forensic tests and an autopsy were apparently conducted before Asunta's body was cremated on Tuesday.
Sources close to the investigation have reported that urine tests revealed that Asunta has been drugged to render her helpless before being tied up. They also find that the girl's mouth and nose had been covered and the cause of death was asphyxiation.
The sources further stated that authorities are trying to “find physical evidence” connected to the homicide, something that, they say, is proving to “be very difficult.”
According to the same sources, there has not yet been any confession.
On national television (video in Spanish), the parents were seen being led in handcuffs back to their respective homes in the center of Santiago de Compostela, as the police searched their apartments.
Reportedly crowds of onlookers gathered at both locations, hurling insults at the suspects, in a story that has shocked the country.
According to a police spokesman, who gave no further details, a possible motive has been revealed in the case.
Detectives are investigating the possibility that Asunta stood to inherit money from Rosario Porto's parents, who died recently. According to RTVE (in Spanish) sources close to the family said that Porto was the benefactor of the considerable estate of her father.
However, it seems that the inheritance may have in fact been left to Asunta, and that this may be the motive for the crime.
EL PAÍS reports that according to sources from the investigation, neither the Civil Guard nor the investigating judge, José Antonio Vázquez Taín, have yet investigated the possibility that Asunta did, indeed, receive an inheritance from her grandparents.
According to a court official, Asunta's mother, Porto, who acted as French honorary consul in the northwestern region of Galicia from 1996-2006, will be questioned by a judge on Friday. At that stage the judge will decide on her custodial status and any charges she might face.
Sources close to Rosario Porto have indicated to EFE that she, like her daughter, is adopted, and that Porto was receiving psychiatric medication.
As yet, no date has been set for the father's hearing.
Update:
Later on Friday - Porto, the mother of Asunta, has been charged with “homicide, or possible murder” while police await the results of toxicological tests on her daughter’s body.
Following a three-and-a-half-hour hearing, the judge ordered that Porto be imprisoned without bail, according to a statement from the High Court of the Galicia region.
Her former husband, appeared in court shortly afterwards facing similar charges related to his daughter’s death.
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Related news:
September 23, 2013 - Walkers find body of 12-year-old girl in the Galician countryside
September 25, 2013 - Mother of 12-year-old girl found dead near Santiago is arrested
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