The parents of Asunta, the 12-year-old girl found dead last Saturday close to Santiago de Compostela, have been sent to prison without bail after appearing before a court in the city on Friday morning.
Judge José Antonio Vázquez Taín formally targeted lawyer Rosario Porto and her journalist ex-husband Alfonso Basterra in his homicide investigation that, according to the Galicia regional High Court, could be boosted to a full-scale murder probe once the judge officially receives results of toxicology tests. The tests are expected to provide an indication of whether the victim was deliberately placed in a defenseless situation, as it has been established that Asunta was drugged and tied up before she was asphyxiated.
Both suspects were taken in a single van from the court to the Teixeiro prison in A Coruña province.
During her three-and-a-half-hour appearance before the judge, Porto maintained the version of events she has given from the beginning, insisting that she did not kill her daughter, according to judicial sources. Neither did Basterra admit anything when he was questioned after wards.
Investigators have yet to determine a motive for the crime
According to Porto, she left Asunta doing her homework at 7pm on Saturday evening, while she did some shopping and collected some swimwear from a house the family owns in Teo, on the outskirts of Santiago. When she returned to their home in the city center at around 9.30pm, her daughter — who she and her former husband adopted from China — was not there, Porto has claimed. However, a police camera has captured Porto in the car with Asunta at around 8pm traveling in the direction of Teo.
Forensic analysis has shown that Asunta was drugged with diazepam, a central nervous system depressant with sedative, amnestic and anticonvulsant properties that her mother habitually took.
Investigators are continuing to piece together evidence to confirm the involvement of the parents, say sources close to the inquiry. They have yet to determine a motive for the crime.