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