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article imageSpain: Both parents in jail over killing of 12-year-old Asunta

By Anne Sewell     Sep 28, 2013 in Crime
Santiago De Compostela - Both parents of Asunta, the 12-year-old girl whose body was found last Saturday close to Santiago de Compostela, have been sent to prison without bail after a court appearance on Friday.
Digital Journal has been following the case of the murder of the 12-year-old adopted daughter of lawyer Rosario Porto Ortego and her former husband, journalist Alfonso Basterra.
In the Galicia regional High Court, Judge José Antonio Vázquez Taín formally charged Porto and her former husband, Basterra, in the homicide investigation that could, according to the court, become a full-scale murder probe once the judge receives the results of toxicology tests.
The court expects the tests to provide an indication of whether Chinese-born Asunta was deliberately placed in a defenseless situation prior to her murder. It has already been established that Asunta was drugged and tied up before she was asphyxiated.
ABC (in Spanish) reports that a single van took both suspects from the court to Teixeiro prison in A Coruña province.
In a court appearance that lasted three-and-a-half-hours, Porto maintained the version of story that she has given from the beginning. The mother of the adopted girl insists that she did not klll her daughter.
Basterra, the girl's father, also did not admit to anything when he was questioned and investigators still have to determine a motive for the crime.
However, it was reported on September 27 that detectives are investigating the possibility that Asunta stood to inherit money from Porto's parents, who died recently.
According to sources close to the family, 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.
Porto told the court that she left Asunta doing her homework at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, went to do some shopping and collected some swimwear from a country house the family owns in Teo, on the outskirts of Santiago.
She said that when she returned home in the city center at about 9:30 p.m. her daughter was not there. However, a police camera has captured Porto in her car with Asunta, traveling in the direction of Teo, at around 8 p.m..
According to forensic analysis, Asunta was drugged with Diazepam, a central nervous system depressant with sedative, amnesic and anti-convulsant properties. This particular drug is habitually taken by her mother.
La Vanguardia (in Spanish) quoted a report in "El Correo Gallego" in which a chilling new piece of information has been revealed. Two of Asunta's teachers visited the police station this week to report an incident that took place on July 16.
According to the teachers, Basterra took the girl to her music classes that day and the teachers said she could hardly walk and that she said her "mouth was pasty." The teacher said it was "as if she had been drugged."
The teachers let Asunta rest in a classroom next door, and when she awoke, the girl said that her mother had given her many pills.
Apparently the teachers did not report this incident before as they knew Asunta was sometimes medicated for allergies. However, the testimony of the teachers gave the Civil Guard the opinion that Porto has tried to kill her daughter before.
Sources close to the inquiry say that investigators are continuing to piece together evidence with which to confirm the involvement of the girl's parents.
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
September 27, 2013 - Both parents of dead 12-year-old Asunta detained, motive found
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