Spain has been shaken by the murder of 12-year-old Asunta Basterra, the first adopted Chinese girl in Galicia, Spain who was allegedly murdered by her parents– Rosario Porto, a lawyer, and Alfonso Basterra, a prominent journalist– some two weeks ago.
It all began on September 22, when her body was found on a forest path in the village of Teo, near Santiago de Compostela (Galicia). Early indications showed that Asunta died from being smothered in a place other than where she was found.
The big surprise came two days later when Porto was arrested just after the cremation of her daughter. Police found her testimony was inconsistent and contradictory. Porto and Basterra reported Asunta’s disappearance just hours before her body was found, but video security camera footage taken near the house showed that Porto drove her daughter in her car after filing the report with law enforcement officials.
The investigators began to suspect that Porto killed the girl in the family farmhouse located close to where the body was found. She admitted having gone to the farmhouse the day of her daughter’s death, but said she went alone.
Asunta Basterra, sedated then smothered
On the day of their arrest, Asunta’s parents participated in the reconstruction of events. Basterra came as a person of interest. After the reconstruction, he was arrested as well. The televised images showed Porto laughing and chatting with the police while they searched her house as they tried to find out how her daughter had died.
On September 27, Porto and Basterra were charged with murder and arrested without bail, after testifying before a judge. In a television interview, Asunta’s paternal grandfather, Ramon Basterra, blamed Rosario for her granddaughter’s death:
“I suspect that she did it and my son tried to cover it up,” he declared, noting that Alfonso is still deeply in love with Rosario even though they are no longer married.
The investigation continues now as officials work to uncover incriminating evidence and determine whether the crime could have been premeditated, which would influence the charge of homicide versus murder.
The autopsy revealed that Asunta received very high doses of Lorazepam prior to her death. The prosecution has confirmed that the father was with her during the hours that the girl received a “forced drug intake,” and the mother was present when Asunta was sedated and killed.
The strange death of Rosario’s parents
Meanwhile, the media continues to reveal details about the daily life of this family, well known in Santiago. At first, it was assumed that the motive for the murder was economical, since Porto comes from a wealthy family. However, a few days later it was found that Asunta was not in her grandparents’ will, dated 1975, where Porto is listed as sole beneficiary.
Surprisingly, after Porto and Basterra were arrested, a relative denounced to the Guardia Civil that she also could have murdered her parents, who died a year ago unexpectedly and only six months apart. Porto is the daughter of attorney Francisco Porto Mella and professor of art history Socorro Ortega Romero.
Basterra is a journalist specializing in wellness and tourism. A few years ago, they were featured in a television segment talking about the adoption of their daughter Asunta, the first Chinese girl adopted in Galicia.
Apparently, the family was not as happy as they seemed. Three days before her death, Asunta did not go to school and her mother said her daughter had taken medication to treat an allergy.
Now, teachers have reported to the police that the girl had previously said that her parents had tried to kill her.
Asunta Basterra’s Blog: Mysteries and murders
Asunta Basterra began writing a blog in English that seems particularly worrisome now. It relates the story of the murder of a woman in the park of La Alameda, the same place where she used to walk with her grandfather. Then, the husband tries to avenge her death, but is also killed. Interestingly, the blog post was written in July 2012, the same month that Asunta’s grandfather died.
Some believe that Asunta may have discovered that her grandparents hadn’t died naturally and that drove her parents’ need to silence her. Other versions speak of a third person involved in the murder.
The mother, according to the Spanish press, had economic struggles and maintained a strange relationship with Messaoud El- Omar, a Moroccan citizen accused of exploiting immigrants he attracted to Spain by offering good working conditions. Upon arrival, they were forced to work as slaves.
In short, what would cause a mother to kill her daughter? All of Spain is wondering. So far, no one knows the truth behind this mystery.