Monday, February 16, 2009

Todos Somos Marta

The worst fear of a parent is the loss of a child. As a parent of an 18 year old daughter, I understand how hard it is to keep your daughter safe when she sometimes does not understand the dangers of society. I cannot imagine losing a child. The disappearance and tragic death of 17 year old Marta del Castillo has shocked the country of Spain. Her disappearance has been dominant in the Spanish media for the last three weeks.

Marta left her house at five in the afternoon where she lives in Seville, Spain on January 24th. She was going to spend the afternoon with her friends. She was supposed to come home by 10:30 or 11:00 that evening. Her boyfriend, Miguel Carcaño said he dropped her off around 9:30, but she never returned. Her parents became worried. Marta's parents had already been very suspicious of Miguel. They did not trust him. After a series of calls to Marta's friends, a report was filed with the police.

As the days passed, Marta's parents fear for their daughter grew into desperation as would happen to any parent with the disappearance of a child. As each day passed with no news, Marta's parents became even more worried. The parents had previously called Marta's friends and discovered she had been with them. Marta's father appeared on Spanish television and made a plea for her life, "If someone has her, I ask you to let her go." Marta did not return. Marta's boyfriend Miguel Carcaño was the prime suspect in her disappearance. The parents did not approve of the boyfriend, but what could they do? According to the blog, una polilla alrededor de la luz, (a moth around the light), Miguel Carcaño comes from a dysfunctional family and had a violent temper. As parents we try to protect our children, but sometimes we are unable.

Before Miguel confessed, flyers were passed out, and concerned citizens set up facebook profiles and youtube videos with the slogan, "Todos Somos Marta." "We are all Marta." Two weeks after her disappearance, 3,500 people marched in solidarity in hopes that she would be found. The professional soccer team, "Racing de Santander" played their next game February 15th with her picture on their jerseys. February 10th, around five hundred motorcyclists took to the streets with Tea-shirts emblazoned with "Todos Somos Marta" - horns blaring to show their solidarity. When signing on to Radio Teletaxi, on the Internet, a music station located in Barcelona, the photograph of Marta appears with the now recognized slogan, "Todos Somos Marta". A blog has been following the most recent news concerning Marta. Miguel and his accomplices also helped in distributing flyers in an attempt to divert suspicion away from him. In one way or another, the entire country of Spain was emotionally involved in the search for Marta del Castillo.

After three weeks of searching, the ugly truth of what happened to Marta surfaced. The ex-boyfriend of Marta del Castillo confessed to the crime. The family had thought from the beginning the boyfriend had something to do with it. Although authorities had suspected him previously because of contradictory statements he had made, thousands of volunteers helped in the search. On February 13th, 20 year old Miguel Carcaño finally recounted the coldness of the act. Marta was apparently killed the same night she disappeared. Miguel hit her over the head several times apparently with an ashtray after an argument ensued. He then called a friend who helped him remove the body. They put the body on their Motorcycle drove to a bridge made for pedestrians. They then put the cadaver on a wheelchair and rolled the wheelchair over the footbridge. They then dumped the lifeless body in the River Guadalquivir. Four friends of Marta have now been arrested in her murder, and as the blog, una polilla alrededor de la luz, (a moth around the light) states, "with friends like that who needs enemies." As the four were taken into custody, the anger was palpable among the multitudes as shouts of "asesino" "murderer" could be heard. The body has yet to be found.

Capital punishment isn't legal in Spain, but if ever there were a case that merited the death penalty this would be it.

The authorities continue to dredge the Guadalquivir river, but the fact remains. Her body may never be found. Finding the body may be of little solace, because the hurt of losing a child in this manner will never go away.

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