crime

Bodies of two women missing in Cuenca found covered in quicklime

Authorities issue international arrest warrant for ex-boyfriend of one of the pair

The dead bodies of missing Marina Okarynksa and Laura del Hoyo were found on Wednesday night.
The dead bodies of missing Marina Okarynksa and Laura del Hoyo were found on Wednesday night.

The bodies of two young women from Cuenca, central Spain, who were reported missing by their families last week were found Wednesday night dumped in a waterhole near the Huécar river, about two kilometers from the town of Palomera, Interior Ministry sources said.

Laura del Hoyo, 24, and her Ukrainian-born friend Marina Okarynska, 26, were reported missing on Friday after they were last seen with Okarynska’s ex-boyfriend Sergio Morate the day before.

Authorities are now searching for 30-year-old Morate. In the days before his disappearance he had told people close to him that he wanted to head to a country that did not have an extradition treaty with Spain, according to police sources.

A Cuenca judge has issued an international arrest warrant so that Interpol and Europol can detain him, according to the central government’s delegate in Castilla-La Mancha, José Julián Gregorio.

Morate previously served time in prison for kidnapping and assaulting another former girlfriend. That previous incident had also taken place close to Palomera, where Morate’s family owns a home.

The discovery of the bodies took place just as hundreds of people gathered in the center of Cuenca for a rally organized by the families of the two women to express thanks for the support they had received. After learning the outcome of the six-day search, the families were led away in tears to muted applause.

Morate served time in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting another ex-girlfriend

Morate’s own family has been keeping a low-profile, according to residents.

The bodies of the victims, which were found by a local resident, reportedly showed burn marks caused by the quicklime in which they had been covered, police said.

The two women had gone to Morate’s home on Thursday to pick up some articles that Okarynska had left.

Police found Del Hoyo’s vehicle, her cellphone, and heart medicine she was taking.

It was not immediately clear how the two women died. Autopsies were scheduled to be performed later Thursday.

Del Hoyo had been living for more than a year in the Valencia town of Xirivella, where she worked as both a dancer and on the cosmetic counter of a local store.

Sergio Morate.
Sergio Morate.

Xirivella town officials said they would organize a rally to condemn this latest gender violence case, which has shocked the entire country.

Ana María Pérez del Campo, president of the Federation of Associations of Separated and Divorced Women, called on the Popular Party government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to enact tougher laws and conduct more thorough investigations to prevent the rash of domestic violence killings.

Up until August 6, 23 women have lost their lives at the hands of their current or ex-partners this year and only two of them had filed restraining orders, Del Campo said.

“When we begin to let our guard down over gender violence it shoots right up,” she said.

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