CRIME

Autopsy reveals young Gabriel Cruz died “one to two hours after lunch”

Stomach samples show eight-year-old was murdered soon after being taken away by father’s girlfriend

People in Almería rally against the murder of Gabriel.
People in Almería rally against the murder of Gabriel.Francisco Bonilla

Eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz was violently murdered in Las Hortichuelas, in southern Spain, “one or two hours after eating,” according to the autopsy report.

Samples taken from the boy’s stomach and analyzed by the National Toxicology Institute show that he died just hours after being allegedly kidnapped by his father’s girlfriend, Ana Julia Quezada, who brought Gabriel to a family property in Rodalquilar, five kilometers from his grandmother’s house. The preliminary report stated that he died the same day, February 27, from asphyxiation.

Judge says Quezada “gave the false appearance of concern for the disappearance and fate of the boy”

According to the remand order issued by investigating judge Rafael Soriano, who placed Quezada in pre-trial custody without bail, her involvement in the murder was “unquestionable.” The document states that as part of her “macabre criminal plan,” Quezada tried to give herself an alibi by doing painting jobs at the property, and took steps to throw off police investigators until she could “get rid of the body.”

Soriano wrote that Quezada had thrown the child’s body in “a hole she had dug earlier” and was planning to move it to a greenhouse, according to tapped phone calls.

“The evidence reveals a lack of feeling and humanity which she herself recognized, and which if confirmed would represent pure cruelty,” Soriano said in his writ, adding that there was “overwhelming evidence against her” not only because Quezada confessed but also from the information collected by the Civil Guard investigators.

New testimonies

Soriano has ordered a new round of testimonies, calling on 10 more witnesses to appear before the court. According to Europa Press, which has seen court records, two will give testimony on April 10 and the remaining eight on April 19.

Patricia Ramírez and Ángel Cruz, the parents of Gabriel, gave testimony on March 22 during a two-hour long session. Before appearing before the court, they issued a press release saying that “without a doubt” it was going to be “one of the hardest days.” The judge took their testimony separately, focusing on the relationship between Quezada and Gabriel and on Quezada’s behavior during the 13-day search.

The judge has noted that in this period she “gave a false appearance of concern for the disappearance and fate of the boy” and “kept up the show, going even further and pretending to find the boy’s shirt herself.”

Gabriel’s 84-year-old grandmother also gave testimony on March 23. The last time she saw Gabriel alive he was with Quezada, who promised she “would bring him back soon to play.”

English version by Melissa Kitson.

More information