CRIME

Spanish mother convicted of 2013 child murder found dead inside her prison cell

Rosario Porto was serving an 18-year sentence for the killing of 12-year-old Asunta Basterra

Rosario Porto at the 2015 trial that found her and her husband guilty of killing their daughter.
Rosario Porto at the 2015 trial that found her and her husband guilty of killing their daughter.óscar corral

The mother of Asunta Basterra, a child who was murdered in Spain’s Galicia region in 2013, was found dead inside her prison cell on Wednesday morning.

Rosario Porto was found hanging by her neck inside Brieva penitentiary in Ávila, where she was serving an 18-year sentence for killing her own adopted daughter.

Prison workers taking attendance on Wednesday morning noticed that Porto was missing and went to check her cell, which had been tidied up, suggesting a premeditated suicide.

A lawyer by trade, Porto had already served seven years in three different penitentiaries after being found guilty in October 2015 at a highly-publicized trial of a crime that shocked the nation.

A jury in Santiago de Compostela found that Porto and her then-husband Alfonso Basterra planned and carried out the murder of their own adopted 12-year-old daughter, who was heavily drugged and strangled.

Her body was found on a rural path outside the family’s country home in Teo, in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia. Porto had been the prime suspect in the case from the beginning, after she provided conflicting versions of her own comings and goings on the day of the murder.

Asunta, who was adopted in China at the age of one by Porto and Basterra, is believed to have been suffocated after being heavily sedated with lorazepam, a drug used by her mother to treat her own anxiety.

Porto had already made other attempts to take her own life. On November 12, 2018, she wrapped a cord around her neck inside the prison cell shower but alerted her cellmate about her plans, which sent prison staff running to stop her.

Before that, she had tried to injure herself, and in February 2017 she was briefly hospitalized after overdosing on a prescription drug. Porto had been placed in anti-suicide protocol programs at all three prisons where she served time.

English version by Susana Urra.

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