As a parent, it’s hard to imagine anything more painful than losing your child. It’s the most horrendous situation to be in, and it’s a level of suffering that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies.
The only thing that could make the experience any more painful is knowing that someone close to you had been involved in their death. This is exactly what has happened, in a shocking story coming out of Spain.
In fact, in this case, it was the person who was supposed to be the closest to the murdered child’s father – a woman has admitted killing her stepson after his body was found in the boot of her car in Spain.
The death of eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz has shocked Spain. The murderer, Gabriel’s stepmother Ana Julia Quezada, appeared on TV, crying as part of the appeal to find him. But these were merely crocodile tears for the camera.
Police soon became suspicious, and after his body was found she ‘admitted being the perpetrator’, according to a police spokesman. Gabriel’s disappearance occurred on February 27 in the small southeastern village of Las Hortichuelas, and sparked a days-long search which involved hundreds of volunteers.
His biological parents Patricia Ramirez and Angel Cruz, who are separated but get along well, have given countless tearful interviews since he went missing after leaving his grandmother’s house to go play.
As his father’s partner, Quezada had been a fixture in the search for Gabriel, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the boy’s smiling face and speaking to reporters in tears. Then in a shocking twist, Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido announced Sunday that police had found Gabriel’s body in her car.
On Tuesday, Gabriel’s funeral at the cathedral in Almeria near Las Hortichuelas drew a huge, saddened crowd, with people shouting ‘we are all Gabriel’. Speaking to the media, Cruz gave thanks for all the support received during excruciating days of uncertainty. ‘You gave us strength to search for Gabriel,’ he said.
News of Gabriel’s murder and Quezada’s arrest sparked an outpouring of hatred towards her across the entire country of Spain, despite calls for calm by his parents. Amateur footage broadcast on Monday showed 43-year-old Quezada mobbed when she left a building accompanied by police, who had to wrestle with people to push them away.
It looks as though traditional justice will prevail, instead of mob justice which looked likely for a time. But people are so angry at her, they’re not stopping their fight there.
One online petition, which has been signed by more than 330,000 people, has asked the Dominican Republic to request her extradition to serve prison time there so that she would not be allowed to enjoy ‘the comfort of Spanish jails’. Another demanding that she be sentenced to life in prison has been signed by more than 270,000 people.
It is known known at the current time whether she will indeed be extradited to the Dominican Republic.
It is not currently known what Quezada’s motive was, if any. But I guess that’s immaterial – what really matters is that she has committed the most heinous crime imaginable.
News also emerged that a girl presented as Quezada’s daughter by Spanish media died in 1996 in the northern city of Burgos after falling out of the window of their home. Asked about this, Zoido confirmed Monday that an incident had taken place, saying police had investigated the tragedy at the time but the case was dismissed. However, in light of the current circumstances, it is extremely suspicious, and is likely to be investigated further.
There have been a number of cases in recent years where children have either died or gone missing, and their parents have been revealed to be their killers or captors.
In February 2008, a nine-year-old girl by the name of Shannon Matthews was reported missing in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England. Her search became a major missing person police operation which was compared to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which had occurred about a year earlier.
Matthews was found on 14 March 2008 at a house in Batley Carr, near Dewsbury. The house was the home of 39-year-old Michael Donovan, uncle of Craig Meehan – the boyfriend of the kidnapped girl’s mother, Karen Matthews.
It transpired that the kidnapping was planned by Karen and Donovan to generate money from the publicity. Donovan was to have eventually “found” Shannon, taken her to a police station and claimed the reward money, which was intended to be split between Donovan and the child’s mother.
Karen Matthews was charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice of justice and sentenced to 8 years. As for Quezada, well, she has not yet been sentenced, but the public will hoping for the strongest punishment permissible by law.