Twelve years after the murder of the Sevillian teenager Marta del Castillo, key questions remain unanswered, such as where her remains are and the identity of all those who covered up the murderer, Miguel Carcaño. The anguish to resolve these loopholes, which still grips the young woman’s family and the police, is shared by viewers who saw with anger how the cascade of lies from a gang forced to leave loose ends in one of the most mediatic cases of The last decades.
That empathy before the pain of the parents and the unsolved mystery is the hanger of the documentary Where is Martha?, released by Netflix and that the first week led its list of series in Spain with 8.4 million hours viewed. The three chapters question the police investigation through the testimonies of the family and lawyers, and starkly expose the contradictions of the three defendants who were acquitted of covering up the crime. “They give us hosts, but not as many as we expected, the usual,” says a resigned agent who demands anonymity about the criticism that often weathers. The police opted for silence before the challenge to review the crime.
The case opened the news of the time for its constant script twists, its unprecedented expectation and a confused media echo that damaged the investigations. What caused that distorting pressure? Two examples: When a morning television program gave an exclusive on the case, the interior minister called investigators to order that they immediately give another exclusive to the competition in the rival network to compensate it. They refused, but a higher command of the Andalusian capital imposed due obedience, took over the police report, and the next day television leaked another new episode of the investigation.
At the end of the initial days of the search for the body, some journalists followed the agents to their homes, early the next morning to escort them again and thus cover the traces or reconstructions from the first minute. “The public asked for blood and the media for information. And when they were denied, they threw themselves at the police ”, recalls a commander. One of the worst consequences of this incessant pressure was a triumphalist press conference in which the police leadership of the Andalusian capital declared the case resolved with “solid and irrefutable evidence” that accused four of Carcaño’s accomplices and placed the body in the Guadalquivir river with the secrecy of the proceedings decreed by the judge still in force. Those tests were sugars in water during the oral hearing.
After seven versions of Carcaño, investigators are now convinced that his brother Javier Delgado – then a security guard – participated in the crime, but against him only the accusation of Carcaño, launched in 2013 from prison and with his credibility for the floors after so many lies and fruitless searches for Marta’s body. There is no solid evidence or certainty that incriminates him in the murder. “There is no formula to question him again and the judge told us to leave him alone. Did the police look bad? It will be in the series, in real life we have only received congratulations from the judiciary. The rule of law is only for what we are interested in. Maybe someone screwed up at the beginning, but both Homicide and the cold case squad reviewed the investigation of the group of minors, ”recalls a commissioner. The police took more than a day to activate the search for the minor, precious time that the defendants used to clean and eliminate evidence.
The sentence that sentenced the minor Javier García The Cuckoo By cover-up in a first trial, it ruled that Delgado witnessed the crime. But in the second trial of the adults, the ruling indicated that Carcaño disposed of the body with El Cuco and “an unknown third party”, without naming him. The Supreme Court later assured that this version had “relevant fissures” and that the main evidence that sentenced Carcaño to 20 years in prison was his confession. “In life you have to be lucky and in this research we have not had it. Neither with the issue of adults nor with that of the minor, it was an obstacle course ”, underline sources from the Sevillian Prosecutor’s Office.
The latest version of the murderer in 2013, after 13 interviews with the police in prison, mentioned that a dispute with his brother triggered the crime. Carcaño had provided false documents to the bank to obtain a mortgage of 108,000 euros on the house where his brother lived and when the two were arguing over certain expenses, Marta got in the way. The Hearing must now decide if there are solid indications to reopen this piece against Delgado, given the holes presented by the accounts of previous events. Meanwhile, Carcaño will testify next May in the trial against El Cuco and his mother for providing false testimony – yet another lie – in the trial of the adults involved. He will do so as a witness, so he is obliged to tell the truth.
In the series, Delgado appears from behind to reject the indications that point to that he lied: a cash receipt from his pub printed when the alarm was activated and some low-quality images that could match his silhouette at a time where he was supposedly in home. Did he charge money for blowing himself up and answering an interrogation against which he could only incriminate himself as a suspect? “Nobody has charged, he knew it was going to be a difficult interview,” says Margarita Luis, executive producer and scriptwriter of the series.
The documentary rescues phone jabs and unpublished videos of the trials, but it also reveals the hypnosis to which Carcaño was subjected, a test to find desperate clues, just like the truth test, a neurological test that in 2014 also did not give results. Perhaps its greatest merit has been to open a window of hope to find the body: a computer expert assured that the mobile data kept by the operators could provide the geolocation of all those involved.
The police allege that in their day they asked the operators for “all the available data” of the mobiles, without receiving clues about the possible location details that could emerge now. After the family requested it, the investigating judge agreed last April to the expertise to clone the mobiles and reconstruct the steps of the suspects on the night of the crime. Seven months after the magistrate’s appointment, today the computer scientist continues in the effort to shed light on this nightmare of lies.
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