Child found dead, woman beaten, inside home in Spanish coastal town

Small Mediterranean community of Elda rocked by crime; police baffled as to possible motive

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Police inspect the neighborhood where the crime occurred.
Police inspect the neighborhood where the crime occurred.Manuel Lorenzo (EFE)

The Spanish national police is investigating the death of an eight-year-old child who was found on Wednesday inside a home in Elda, a town of around 55,000 residents in the province of Alicante. Next to him was a pregnant woman who had been bound, gagged and beaten.

On Friday, authorities said that an autopsy performed on the child was not conclusive, but suggested suffocation as a possible cause of death.

Nobody can ever be prepared for something like this

Investigators are searching for two individuals so far only identified as wearing motorcycle helmets, according to the woman’s account of the crime. The boy was in cardiac arrest when the police arrived at the scene; a medical team was called in but attempts at resuscitation failed. There were no external signs of violence on his body. He had been living in the house with his foster father and the latter’s  partner – the woman who was attacked, who is around 30 years old and four months pregnant.

The government delegate in the Valencia region, Juan Carlos Moragues, confirmed on Friday that the case remains wide open.

 A neighbor found the victims around 9pm, when she heard a scream coming out of the apartment, located on Quijote street in Elda. The neighbor found the front door ajar, walked in and saw the child on the floor and the woman tied up.

Agresion Elda
The scene of the crime was cordoned off.Manuel Lorenzo

Relatives of the woman, who is hearing impaired, have denied early media reports that both her and the child had been sexually assaulted, according to the local newspaper Valle de Elda.

The child’s foster father, a track and field coach who is well known in town, had to be held back by the police when he came home from work and learned what had happened. Officers placed him in handcuffs to prevent him from hurting himself.

The child had been in his care for four years, according to local newspaper reports. Regional officials at the Valencia government said that the minor was autistic and required special care.

“Elda is a quiet town with kind, hard-working people,” said Mayor Rubén Alfaro at a press conference. “Nobody can ever be prepared for something like this.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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