Asunta’s father denies any knowledge of circumstances of 12-year-old’s death

Alfonso Basterra says he “will leave prison with head held high”

Alfonso Basterra waits during a police search.
Alfonso Basterra waits during a police search.ÓSCAR CORRAL

Alfonso Basterra, the adoptive father of Asunta, the 12-year-old girl found dead in woodland near a family-owned property on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela on September 22, denies ever having administered the medication that led to her death.

The judge investigating the case maintains that Basterra was present at the time a fatal dose of the powerful sedative lorazepam was given to Asunta. Investigators believe that Basterra and his wife, Rosario Porto, may have been responsible for the death of their daughter and then attempted to fake a kidnap attempt.

“I did not give medication to my daughter,” Basterra said in an interview given from the Teixeiro prison in A Coruña with regional daily El Correo Gallego, where he worked as a journalist for several years. “Nothing that is being said makes any sense. If the girl took the overdose of Orfidal that people say she did, she would have left my house already dying, and that is not the case.”

Toxicology reports confirm that Asunta had been ingesting sedatives for some time and eyewitnesses told investigators that she had often been drowsy. Hair analysis showed a level of 0.68 micrograms of lorazepam per millimeter of blood, which specialists considered a lethal dose. Porto, who is separated from Basterra, had habitually taken lorazepam and is alleged to have given it to her daughter on multiple occasions.

Despite these findings, Basterra maintains that he has never tried to conceal information or lie. “How can they accuse me of something like this when it was me who informed her teachers that she was suffering from drowsiness? Maybe I shouldn’t have taken her to class, but I didn’t try to hide anything.”

Basterra claims that Asunta had bouts of allergies, but doctors who examined Asunta say this was not the case. The girl told teachers at a private music academy in Santiago that “My mother is trying to kill me.” Porto’s version of events has changed several times since September 22.

On the day of Asunta’s death, Basterra maintains he was at home all day, as he originally said in his first court appearance. “We had lunch at 1pm and at about 5.20pm she left with her mother completely normally, and I stayed at home for the rest of the afternoon until Charo [Porto] called to tell me something had happened and to go to the police station,” he told the newspaper.

Basterra and Porto have been remanded in custody for over a month charged with the murder of their daughter. However, Basterra said he would leave Teixeiro “with my head held high.”

“I will prove that those who have already judged me should be ashamed,” he said.