‘The case of Asunta’ as it is known in the Spanish media, is about a 12-year-old girl named Asunta Basterra Porto. Asunta was adopted from China when she was only one year old by a wealthy and well respected Spanish family – Rosario Porto Ortega, who worked as a lawyer, and journalist Alfonso Basterra Camporro. At the time of the crime her parents were separated but raised their adopted daughter together.
The highly gifted youngster, who studied in a prestigious private school in Santiago de Compostela, was excelling in music and ballet, studied Mandarin Chinese and even started a blog in English.
Her adoptive parents reported her missing on the evening of September 21, 2013. At the dawn of the next day, her lifeless body was found in a forest track just three miles from a cottage owned by her family. Only 10 days short of her 13th birthday, Asunta died from an overdose of sedatives.
Two days after Asunta’s body was found and identified, her mother Rosario was arrested and charged with homicide. A day later her father Alfonso was also arrested.
On the morning of 5th July 2013, Asunta sent a WhatsApp message to a friend of hers saying ‘I’m very nervous, they tried to kill me’. She also said her parents kept giving her the ‘white powder’. The latter she also confessed to her music teacher in person. On the same day, her adoptive father Alfonso bought fifty doses of Orfidal, a strong benzodiazepine-based sedative used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. In the following days Asunta’s teachers saw her half asleep in classes ‘as if she had been drugged’. The autopsy report confirmed that she had been consistently drugged with benzodiazepines over a long period of time and that she had absorbed a large quantity on the night she died. Her mother Porto Rosario claimed Asunta took very strong medications for asthma and other allergies, but her pediatrician said she didn't suffer from any of these conditions.
Instead, the mother herself was receiving treatment for repeated anxiety attacks, conditions for which benzodiazepine is frequently prescribed. Two days after she was released from the hospital, she broke things off with her lover because her ex-husband Alfonso asked her to do so.
Another damaging piece of evidence was an agricultural type of rope that was used to tie Asunta's hands and feet, which was found in the property of her mother.
‘Erotic’ photos ‘taken out of context’?
Photos, described as provocative and with sexual undertones, found on her father's computer have been misinterpreted and many were asked for by Asunta herself, said Porto Rosario.
Out of context or not, according to investigators someone tampered with the hard drive and mobile which belonged to her father, putting them in his apartment after the initial investigation. The deleted photos, which were recovered with the help of IT experts, include Asunta apparently asleep, dressed in a corset and tights and with her legs open. Also, pornographic material featuring oriental women was found.
Events that lead to the death of Asunta
At first Porto Rosario told investigators that she left her home at 7:00 PM, and when she returned a few hours later the girl was gone. She later changed her statement when CCTV footage revealed that at the time when Asunta supposedly went missing she was with her in their car.
- 13:55 PM: Asunta leaves home.
- 14:00 PM: CCTV reveals Asunta with her father in a bank, with whom she will eat later.
- 16:59 PM: Father's mobile registers a call from his apartment.
- 17:21 PM: The same camera records Asunta again
- 17:28 PM: This time walking to her mother's apartment.
- 17:38 PM: The mobile phone of Asunta, located in her mother's apartment in Santiago, registers a connection.
- 18:12 PM: Mother enters the garage of the home.
- 18:18 PM: Asunta is seen by acquaintances with her father, near the mother's apartment.
- 18:22 PM: Mother is seen in a car with Asunta.
- 18:35 PM: The house alarm of the cottage is disconnected.
- 19:29 PM: Mother’s cell phone get connected to the Internet.
- 19:00-20:00 PM: Estimated time of death of Asunta.
- 20:47 PM: Father's mobile phone makes a connection.
- 20:53 PM: The house alarm of the cottage is reconnected. Neighbors greet the mother but Asunta is nowhere to be seen;
- 21:00 PM: Father is seen by the cameras in front of the bank again.
- 21:05 PM: Asunta's mobile phone makes a connection, near the location of her father;
- 22:30 PM: The parents report Asunta missing.
- 00:39 AM: A neighbor passes the area where Asunta is later found but sees nothing strange;
- 01:30 AM: A young couple finds the body of the child approximately three miles from a cottage owned by her family.
- 01:39 AM: The Civil Guard receives information that two people have found a body of a child;
Both of the parents, who are the only suspects in the case, insist they and each other are innocent. The trial will start in early October of 2015 in the Provincial Court of A Coruña.
On 30 October 2015, a jury unanimously found the parents of Asunta Basterra guilty. Similarly to the case of Casey Anthony, there were problems finding neutral jury members. A jury of five men and four women were cut off from the outside world, had their cell phones taken away and had to stay at a hotel.
After deliberating for five long days, the jury found the adoptive parents planned and carried out the murder of their own daughter, who was heavily drugged and strangled. There is a possibility that Asunta was about to inherit a big amount of money from Rosario Porto's parents, who died recently. The inheritance may have been the motive for the gruesome crime.
This page will be updated, so you can get the latest updates about Asunta Basterra's case in English.