Majadahonda murder suspect was meant to be in a psychiatric hospital

Court had issued prior warrant against man arrested over disappearance of five women

Plainclothes police take the suspect back into custody after the house search.
Plainclothes police take the suspect back into custody after the house search.Carlos Rosillo

The suspect behind the disappearance of as many as five people in the Madrid satellite town of Majadahonda was previously wanted by authorities.

The 32-year-old man was due to be admitted into a psychiatric hospital because of his history of mental problems, but the police were unable to locate him. The warrant had been issued by a regional court around two months ago.

This was not his only run-in with the law. Two years ago, he violently confronted Civil Guard officers in Majadahonda, a town of 70,400 residents in the northwest of the capital, who were answering a distress call from his tenant. He was arrested and taken to the police station for booking.

The suspect has been described by police as very cool and detached, and also uncooperative

On Monday, police searched the man’s home for the second time since he was arrested again on April 8 of this year on the suspicion that he may have killed a 55-year-old Argentinean woman who was his tenant.

The alert was originally raised by the woman’s brother, who had been unable to locate her for days and was getting odd text messages purporting to be from her.

Officers located and questioned the landlord, whose story sounded suspicious enough to make them seek a first search warrant. The search of the semi-detached, two-story house in La Sacedilla, a residential estate in Majadahonda, yielded several unsettling items, including an industrial meat grinder in the garage, a bloody knife and what appeared to be a human tooth.

The suspect was immediately arrested and sent to preventive prison without bail until the fate of his tenant can be determined. On Monday, he was escorted back to the house for a second sweep that focused on finding biological remains. Police dogs were brought in to help with the eight-hour search.

“We also look out for gestures or movements that the detainee might make during the search, that might provide some clues or evidence to push the investigation forward,” said sources familiar with the case.

The suspect has been described by police sources as “very cool” and detached, and also uncooperative.

“He acts as though this whole thing has nothing to do with him,” said a source.

When the search ended and the suspect was taken out of the house again, neighbors came out on their balconies to insult him as he passed by. Photojournalists crowded around the unmarked gray car that took him back into custody in an unsuccessful attempt to get a shot of his face, which was covered with a brown jacket.

Besides the Argentinean woman, the police are also searching for the suspect’s aunt, who went missing around four years ago and is the real owner of the house, and for three other former tenants whose leases were found inside the property.

The suspect claims that he took his elderly aunt to a senior residence, but that he cannot remember which one.

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