A PETITION with nearly 1.4 million signatures is due to be handed in to Spain's acting justice minister to call for the case into the murder of a Sevilla teenager to be reopened.
Marta del Castillo Casanueva, 17, was killed by her ex-boyfriend Miguel Carcaño, then 20, after arranging to meet him to discuss 'rumours he was spreading about her'.
Yesterday (Sunday) was the seventh anniversary of Marta's death on January 24, 2009, and since then at least as many versions of what happened to the teenager have been given by her self-confessed killer.
Initially, he said he threw an ashtray at her in temper and knocked her out, but panicked, believing her dead, and dumped her body in the nearby river Guadalquivir.
Later information hinted she had been gang-raped and strangled.
The location of her body has never been revealed, although Carcaño has indicated several sites – none of which turned out to be Marta's final resting place.
He was sentenced to just 21 years and three months in jail, whilst one of the five suspected accomplices, known by his nickname of 'El Cuco' spent two years and 11 months in a youth detention centre as he was only 15 at the time of the killing.
El Cuco was charged with covering up the crime, not with any active involvement, and Carcaño's elder stepbrother, Javier and the latter's girlfriend, plus another friend, Samuel Benítez – also aged 15 – were acquitted.
In the past seven years, little has developed – Carcaño was subjected to a 'lie detection' test in a hospital in Zaragoza, which pointed to a stretch of scrubland near Sevilla that also turned out to be a red herring; and Marta's father offered the killer €18,000 to reveal what he had done with his daughter's body.
Marta's dad also provided recorded material obtained by an infiltrator who ostensibly made friends with El Cuco and his family, but had to fight to get the court to accept it.
A judge then claimed the tapes and videos contained nothing of extra value.
The Del Castillo-Casanueva family has been in talks with top-level politicians since the killer was given what was largely considered to be a lenient sentence, and have heavily criticised the police, the justice system and the judge handling the case who refused to authorise any further searches for the body.
Now, however, the petition – set up three years ago in February 2013 on Change.org – has netted a total of 1,363,995 signatures.
It only needs another 10% of these, or 136,005, to reach the next milestone of 1.5 million, but in the meantime, will be presented to acting justice minister Rafael Catalá on Wednesday this week (January 27).
Photograph from Change.org