The order from police chiefs could not be clearer: the ongoing search for a child molester in the Ciudad Lineal neighborhood of the capital is “the only priority in Madrid.”
The man being sought by the authorities has struck three times so far. The latest incident took place last Friday when a seven-year-old Spanish girl of Dominican origin was taken from Torquemada street in the Hortaleza district, in the northeast of the city. The young girl was in the home of her grandparents when she disappeared at around 6.30pm.
According to investigators, her absence was noted just as a car started up, leading to the conclusion that she was taken away in the vehicle.
In the first instances, the girls were drugged and bathed in an apartment, thought to be the home of the kidnapper
The emergency services were alerted to the disappearance, and officers from so-called “Operation Candy,” which is dedicated to finding the child molester, were called in.
All available patrol and unmarked vehicles were alerted, in particular those in the neighborhoods of Ciudad Lineal, Hortaleza and San Blas, where previous kidnappings had taken place. But by 7.50pm, a man on his way to Ciudad Lineal Metro station encountered a frightened, disorientated girl. She had been taken a distance of 7.5 kilometers by the man.
The first incident in this case took place on April 10 in a park in Ciudad Lineal, and the second on June 17 in the Ascao neighborhood. In those instances, the girls were drugged and bathed in an apartment, thought to be the home of the kidnapper. They were held for between five and six hours and then left in the street.
The kidnapping on Friday, however, has left investigators puzzled, given that the modus operandi was different from the first two instances. A copycat kidnapper has not yet been ruled out.
That said, the details of this latest kidnapping appear to tally with the first two incidents. The suspect in the third abduction used a small vehicle, reportedly of the same make as that used on the two previous occasions. The girl involved in the latest incident spoke of a light-colored car, as did the other two.
We are working in great detail and are convinced that this criminal will be arrested”
The three girls also provided similar descriptions of the suspect as a man aged between 35 and 40, around 1.80-meters tall.
Sources from Operation Candy admit that the latest incident has interrupted “several lines of investigation,” given that this time around the victim was not taken to the kidnapper’s home, nor was she drugged. “There were details from the other two cases that we were taking into consideration and that, after what happened on Friday, we will now have to question,” explained a police chief in Madrid at the weekend. “We are working in great detail and are convinced that sooner or later, this criminal will be arrested.”
Officers are also working closely with the latest victim. Having not been drugged, she is able to offer a clearer picture of her captor than the other two girls. Specialists are treating their investigation of her as a game, so as to not tire her out and to keep her unaware of the fact she is being questioned.
Official sources have reported unease among authorities about the fact that the latest kidnapping took place just behind the Canillas police complex, home to three major departments, as well as Hortaleza Municipal Police headquarters.