Marta del Castillo Case: the Synopsis

25 February 2009 | Posted by  Leave a Comment
A quick synopsis to situate those who didn't follow Marta del Castillo story in the Spanish media. 

The Crime

Marta del Castillo was a 17 year old girl who disappeared from her home, in Seville on January 24th.

 Marta del Castillo

Marta's ex-boyfriend, 20-year-old Miguel Carcaño, was arrested twice by the Spanish National Police  for contradictions in his statements before finally confessing to the crime on February the 13th.

Twenty-one days after the disappearance of Marta, Miguel told police officers what he had not told them in his two previous statements - that that he had killed Marta instantly by hitting her on the head with an object after he had taken her to her door where the pair had an argument.

The police investigation revealed that Miguel and his brother Javier washed the suspect's clothes and cleaned the house to destroy any evidences of the crime.

Miguel and his brother Javier Carcaño

However, they were not as meticulous as they thought; a speck of the victim's blood was found inside the suspect's coat pocket, which is where the police believe Miguel kept the murder weapon - an ashtray. When confronted with this conclusive evidence, Miguel confessed to the crime.

Police believe that Miguel hit Marta repeatedly with an ashtray at around 8.50 p.m. on the night of her disappearance on January 24th. Miguel, at first on his own,  put Marta's body in a car and then with the help of his friend Samuel Benítez, who is also in prison, in the early hours of the morning they took her to a bridge between Camas and Seville and threw her body in the Guadalquivir River.  Miguel's brother Javier is believed to have stayed at home cleaning the house to destroy the evidences.

Meanwhile the search for Marta's body in the Guadalquivir River goes on and has been extended as far as the river's estuary in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Cadiz.

The Claim

Antonio del Castillo, Marta's father 

Mr. Antonio del Castillo, Marta's father and Javier Casanueva, the uncle and the spokesperson for the family have being trying to include in the Spanish Penal Code two basic and interrelated claims: to include the sentence of life imprisonment and to achieve this goal, the family of Martha, as well as the family of Mari Luz Cortés and of so many other young people killed or missing, proposes that a referendum is made to change the Spanish Constitution.

The Politics

Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

Prime Minister Zapatero received Marta's parents at La Moncloa palace today, where the answers to Martha's family where a terse 'NO' to the first demand and a dead silence for the second claim. Nevertheless, Zapatero pledged to send the family of the young Marta del Castillo a document containing all the informations regarding the measures set out in the Penal Code for such cases and that he would keep with the family an open channel on the development of the searches for the body.

A meeting with the leader of the opposition, Mariano Rajoy, is expected to take place after the Basque and Galician elections on March 1st.

The People's Support


Various anonymous and participants manifested their support for the family and for the change of the Penal code in cities across Spain. The word of order was "We Are All Marta". The public in Sevilla have made their views felt by setting up 50 tables across the city to collect signatures in demand for life imprisonment.

On the side

Finding the body of Marta del Castillo will prove key for the progression of the case against the four people now arrested for her killing.

Many consider that if the body is not found, Miguel's own confession is not enough to charge him with asesinato, and  legal experts say the courts are very cautious in such cases. Some lawyers say without a body there is no crime, while others believe it all comes down to proving the crime, independently of whether the body is found or not. For example they claim that if Marta’s DNA is found on the wheelchair used to move her body that could be evidence enough.

(The difference between homidicio and asasinato in the Spanish penal code can be read here)

Sources: The Spanish media

6 comments »

virginia said...

Joana, acho que na língua Portuguesa percebe-se também a diferença entre assassinato e homicídio. O assassinato é planejado, vem de surpresa e é traiçoeiro como o do Kennedy e o do Lincoln.
E acho que o resto tem a categoria de homicídio. Mas nada entendo de leis.

virginia said...

Caso triste, muito triste.
A menina também tinha o direito à vida.

Very sad case.

She had the right to live.

Anonymous said...

BOYS OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY ARE SAMUEL BENÍTEZ AND MIGUEL CARCAÑO. THE FIRST IS SAMUEL (miguel and marta's friend) AND THE SECOND IS MIGUEL (the killer). MIGUEL'S BROTHER IS FRANCISCO JAVIER DELGADO BUT HE ISN'T APPEAR IN THIS PHOTO.

(I dont speak english...sorry for the mistakes)

Anonymous said...

POBRECILLA, ESA MADRE TIENE QUE ESTAR DESTROZADA A VER SI YA APARECE EL CUERPO CONDENAN A ESOS HP Y POR LO MENOS VER POR UNA VEZ JUSTICIA EN CASOS ASI.
ANIMO Y LO SIENTO MUCHISIMO
UNA MADRE

Anonymous said...

On the second picture: Samuel (on the left side of the screen) and Miguel Carcaño (on the right side).

Anonymous said...

"Some lawyers say without a body there is no crime, while others believe it all comes down to proving the crime, independently of whether the body is found or not."

What do I believe? Sorry! I was thinking of some other case... :t

:a   :b   :c   :d   :e   :f   :g   :h   :i   :j   :k   :l   :m   :n   :o   :p   :q   :r   :s   :t

Comments Policy. Please read before posting comments.

We enjoy hearing what you have to say and welcome your comments. However, to ensure that your comments add to and not detract from our site we have put a formal comment policy in place. This allow us to set the expectation of what is and what is not acceptable to allow us to maintain the integrity of content and comments on our site. We reserve the right to delete comments we deem as spam, transparent attempts to get traffic without providing any useful commentary, and any contributions which are offensive or inappropriate for civilized discourse. We will also not tolerate personal attacks, be it against other commentators, or third parties. Although discussions often open up new topics, please try to keep the discussion on the subject of the blog post / article. Please think before you submit your comments. Comments are a reflection on you and your personality. They will live on long after you have forgotten what you said.