Transcript: 159. The Alcàsser Murders | Spain

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This episode contains references to sexual assault of teenage girls and may not be suitable for all listeners.

On the morning of Wednesday, January 27, 1993, a 69-year-old beekeeper Gabriel Aquino Gonzalez and his father-in-law Jose Sala were getting ready to check their beehives on Jose's property in a small Spanish town called La Romana. The village, which only has around 2,500 residents, is surrounded by countryside where vineyards and almond orchards are grown. There, in a rural, mountainous area, near an old, abandoned house, were the beehives of Gabriel and Jose. During the winter, the check-ups were not frequent, as it is not good to open the hives in the cold weather, but the two had felt now was the right time.

As it was just 10 o'clock and still a bit chilly outside, the two men decided to wait for the sun to warm up before getting to work. Jose used this time to smoke a cigarette while Gabriel took a walk around the La Rambla, a deep ravine in the area. After 20 minutes, he was about to return when something caught his attention—a reflection from a watch on the ground half-hidden under dry bushes. The weird thing was that it seemed like somebody had placed the branches there purposely to cover something. Gabriel called for Jose: 

"Come and see what's here. What do you think of this? "

Jose came to the scene and decided to remove some twigs with a spatula he had. Underneath, they saw the large silver watch and, to their horror, the wrist that was still wearing it.

This discovery eventually shocked the whole country of Spain and changed the lives of the families of three young girls forever.

>>Intro Music

Miriam García Iborra, Antonia "Toñi" Gómez Rodríguez, and María Deseada "Desirée" Hernández Folch were three friends living in Valencian municipality of Alcàsser, a small town close to the eastern Spanish coast, with a population of just a little over 10 000. 

Miriam and Desiree were 14 years old, while Toni was almost exactly one year older than the two. 

Toni, who was one of three siblings having a sister and a brother, was described as a timid but very kind and conscientious girl. She always ensured her loved ones knew where she was and that she was alright if she was running late. In 1992, Toni had stopped studying and wanted to enter the workforce so she could make her own money. 

Desiree, younger of two sisters, was a fun-loving person who enjoyed competitive sports, and she often walked away a winner. She also loved skating around town and talking with people. Desiree was sociable with strong people skills, but did not excel academically, so in 1992, she was repeating the eighth grade.

Miriam, who had two younger brothers, was known for her beauty. She was shy, reserved and sensitive. In 1992, Miriam was attending the La Florida Institute in the nearby town of Catarroja. She had a passion for ballet and writing poetry, and often shared her poems with her friends.

The three teens also spend time with another friend, a fourteen-year-old girl named Esther Diaz Martinez. 

On November 12, 1992, Toni called a local radio station and dedicated a song, "Major Tom," by Peter Schilling to their group. On the call, cheerful Toni mentioned that she doesn't have specific plans for the weekend but is not going to stay home. 

The following day, Friday, November 13, Toni, Miriam and Desiree were all at Esther's house. They had plans to go out to the neighbouring town of Picassent, to a nightclub named Coolor. As the distance between the two towns was a few kilometers, Miriam had called her father and asked if he could take them by car as he usually did. This time, however, her father had come home from work sick and was unable to drive them. Esther had also caught the bug and had to stay home too. Toni, Miriam and Desiree did not want to give up their plans, and so they left Esther's house around 8pm. Esther would later state that the girls said they were going to the nightclub but were not going to go inside, as they did not have money. Instead, they were planning to hang outside at the door.

Without a ride, Toni, Miriam and Desiree decided to hitchhike to Coolor. Back then, many young people hitchhiked to the club, even though it offered bus transport for its customers. Miriam, Toni, and Desiree were picked up from the last traffic light in Alcàsser by 20-year-old Francisco Hervás and 19-year-old Mari Luz. However, the couple did not take the girls all the way to their destination as Francisco's car had a leak in the fuel tank. They left the trio at the Marí Picassent gas station, just a few blocks away from the nightclub. Many have found this weird as the Coolor was so close, and in his first statement later, Francisco did not even mention that he took the car to a workshop after leaving the girls. Later, his statement would change, and he and his girlfriend would remember things differently, even in which kind of car they had been that night. Nevertheless, the point was, he did not drop Toni, Miriam and Desiree off AT the nightclub and they had to walk the rest of the way.

What happened next is not known for sure. But according to 16-year-old José Antonio Cano Llácer, he saw and greeted Miriam, Toni and Desiree when he passed them at the gas station on his way from the Coolor nightclub to Silla. Later, 63-year-old María Dolores Badal Soria allegedly saw the girls from her window, getting into a white four-door car that was already occupied by four people. If those girls were in fact Miriam, Toni and Desiree, that was the last time the three friends were seen alive.

At ten o'clock that evening, the families of the girls started to get worried. It was dinner time, but the girls had not returned. As time passed, the parents of Miriam, Desiree and Toni called each other and quickly learned that none of the girls had come home. Eventually, Miriam's father, Fernando García, went out to search for the missing girls. He went to the Coolor nightclub, but nobody had seen the trio. On his way back, Fernando stopped by the Civil Guard station to report Miriam missing. However, he was told that it's probably just a case of teenagers staying out too late, and that he could not make the report before 24 hours had passed. 

After spending a night in agony, on November 14, 1992, at 9.40am, Fernando and the mothers of Toni and Desiree went to the Civil Guard post in Picassent to report their daughters missing. Now the authorities were also concerned. Miriam, Toni, and Desiree had all left just with clothes they had on and with no money. It did not make much sense that they would have disappeared voluntarily. The search for the girls was launched immediately.

The Civil Guard focused their investigations first on friends of the disappeared girls and regular customers of the nightclub. It was quickly concluded that the teenagers had not arrived at the venue at all that night. Local offenders and those who had been released from prison around the time of the disappearances were questioned, but nothing was found. Thousands of missing persons’ flyers were spread across the entire Valencian community, and when media picked up the story, hundreds of people from all over the country claimed to have seen Miriam, Toni, and Desiree. The Interior Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Corcuera, set up a task force called UCO, in hopes of more efficient investigation. UCO’s headquarters were set in Valencia, the largest city nearby both Alcàsser and Picassent. Eventually, the investigation spread beyond Spanish borders. Even though it was unlikely that the three friends were abroad, Interpol was also informed about the case. Still despite all the agencies involved, there was no sign of the missing teens. It was like they had disappeared into thin air.

Heartbroken and guilt-ridden about not driving Miriam and her friends to the club himself that night, Fernando Garcia kept looking for his daughter tirelessly. He began appearing on radio or television shows, hoping to get the story of Miriam, Toni and Desiree in front of as many people as possible. Shortly after the disappearance of the three girls, Fernando appeared on the television program "Who Knows Where?" with Esther, who now seemed to have been incredibly lucky that the stomach bug had kept her home. Eventually, Fernando travelled to London to meet with journalists to spread the word about the search for the girls. During his time in the UK, the fates of his daughter and her two friends were finally discovered.

The 75-day search for Miriam, Toni and Desiree ended January 27, 1993, in La Romana, around 150km south of Picassent. Beekeeper Gabriel Aquino Gonzalez and his father-in-law Jose Sala had stumbled upon their shallow grave. As the two had initially thought that the watch and the arm bones sticking out the ground belonged to a man when they alerted the authorities, no one assumed they had found the missing teenagers. It took several hours for Judge Jose Luis Bort, the local magistrate, and his Judicial Secretary, Angeles Fon Cuallado, to arrive, but when he finally did, he quickly realised they had found all three of the missing girls of Alcàsser. Unfortunately, of course, just that day when the bodies were discovered, the task force of the case, UCO, was in Madrid because of changes in the team, and they were not able to supervise the excavation. This led to poor handling of evidence at the scene, which caused many problems in the investigation later on.

Several hours had passed before the crime scene was cordoned off and locked down. During this time, the scene was compromised by officials and witnesses, trying to have a look at the grisly discovery. Also, the excavation was done before anybody had taken pictures or searched the area. The only existing image of the bodies in the pit shows nothing else than dirt. Nevertheless, the bodies were found half-buried, together in various stages of decomposition and covered by a greenish carpet in a large pit that had been dug for this purpose. It was clear all three had been raped and tortured before their deaths. Two of the girls had their heads severed, and their hands were tied with black rope. 

Alongside the bodies, several other objects were found, including an oversized T-shirt which was believed to belong to one of the victims, a torn corduroy jacket, a handwritten note, two pieces of wood, a sailing rope, bits of bone, including a phalange and vertebrae, and a video game cartridge. It is important to note that the police photographed none of these objects before they were taken out of the pit. Many of the items were also not collected as evidence and were left behind at the scene. The evidence that forensic experts DID collect was sealed into plastic bags and left out in the elements for hours or even days. Fungal growth and bacteria on the water-soaked evidence, made it useless for further testing. 

A piece of evidence found at the scene, was considered to be key to the investigation. That item was a pamphlet from a nearby hospital, La Fe de Valencia. Where exactly this flyer was located at the scene, wasn’t clear, seeing the police neglected to photograph it. It could have been found inside the pit or next to it, or even farther away. Nevertheless, the flyer had the name of an individual named Enrique Anglés Martins on it. He had been treated for syphilis at La Fe de Valencia a few months earlier. Authorities were thrilled; they had a suspect.

The Civil Guard was swift to follow this lead, and on the same afternoon, they were at the home of Enrique Anglés in Catarroja. The apartment was searched, and after questioning Enrique and his family, investigators concluded that the pamphlet with Enrique's name actually belonged to his brother, 26-year-old Antonio Anglés. Antonio, who was not home at the time, had impersonated Enrique at the hospital and was already known to police. Even his own family described Antonio as a very violent man. His sister Kelly later said: 

"I didn't think he could feel empathy for people. He was very cold. We were all afraid of him."

Then, while the Civil Guard were still at the apartment, a 23-year-old man named Miguel Ricart arrived with two of Antonio's brothers, Mauricio and Ricardo. It is noteworthy that Miguel did not try to escape at any point but walked in calmly, even when he noticed the Civil Guard. Officers recognised Miguel as a known criminal associate of Antonio and took him to the nearby barracks for questioning. 

Miguel Ricart Tárrega was born on September 12, 1969, in Catarroja, Valencia. His father, Miguel Senior, was a cabinetmaker. Unfortunately, his mother, Encarnación, had died from an epileptic seizure when Miguel was just three years old. Due to his mother’s death, Miguel’s father sent him to the San Juan Bautista College for Orphan Children in Valencia. When he completed his schooling, he received a scholarship to study at the Labor University of Cheste. But at this point, Miguel’s behaviour started to deteriorate due to, among other things, mixing with the wrong crowd, and he was sent back to a public school in Catarroja. 

Miguel’s relationship with his father had never been easy, who, according to Miguel, was a drunk who was abusive towards him. This eventually led to Miguel running away from home, just to come back a couple of days later. In addition, Miguel’s issues at home and his timid and constantly nervous character resulted in him experimenting with drugs and alcohol from a young age.

At 16-years-old Miguel dropped out of school and went to work in the fields, thus supporting his father, who was unemployed. During this time, Miguel started visiting local discotheques and using mainly hashish, alcohol, and occasionally cocaine and Rohypnol. Still, Miguel never developed into a frequent user.

A couple of years later, Miguel moved in with his girlfriend and two of her sisters. Eventually, the girlfriend became pregnant and gave birth to the couple’s only child, daughter Maria Rosa Ricart. At 20 years old, Miguel joined the Spanish army, Legión as a special Volunteer. He spent 18 months in Malaga before returning home, where his lifestyle and the difficulty of keeping a job eventually led to separation from his girlfriend. And so, Miguel went to live with his friend and usual drug supplier Antonio Angles.

Antonio was born in Brazil in 1966. He was part of a large family as his parents Enrique Angles and Neusa Martins had nine children altogether.

When Antonio was just two years old, his family moved from Brazil to Spain. Life in the Angles household was not always pleasant. Enrique was an alcoholic and had been hospitalized due to cirrhosis of the liver by the early 1990s. Antonio’s mother Neusa was trapped in an unhappy marriage and had been abused for a long time both by her husband and her own children, including Antonio. Besides abusing his family members, Antonio also stole from them to support his drug habit.

When Miguel then moved into the Angles home, the two began to engage in small, petty crimes resulting in Antonio being in-and-out of prison in the early 1990s. Despite this, Miguel was allowed to stay at Angles family home, where Antonio’s little brother Enrique also lived. And it was Enrique’s name that eventually led the Civil Guard to their home in connection with the Alcàsser Murders case.

During the interview, or the voluntary statement, which started right around midnight, Miguel told the investigators that he had been in prison in December when Miriam, Toni and Desiree went missing. He also mentioned his car, a white Opel Corsa. This car is similar to the description of a vehicle that a witness had seen the girls get into the night of their disappearance. While pressured about the car, Miguel said he had sometimes loaned it to his friend, Antonio Angles, which is questionable as Antonio did not have a driver's license and, as far as we know, did not know how to drive. 

Miguel continued saying he had not seen Antonio at all in previous months or been in contact with him, and so, he did not know where he was. However, he did admit that Antonio was an aggressive man with some mental health issues. In the same breath, Miguel emphasized the innocence of Antonio’s brother, Enrique Angles, saying that the young man could not hurt a fly. Authorities found Miguel’s claim that he had not seen Antonio at all or even been in contact with him very unlikely as the two men had been friends for over a decade, and Miguel had been living in the family home. They were also sceptical about Miguel's claim that he had been in prison at the time of the three girls' disappearance. After calling some correctional officers, Miguel's statement was quickly proven to be false. 

Without being able to give a solid alibi, around five in the morning of January 28, Miguel Ricart was officially detained and charged as an accomplice in the murders of Miriam García Iborra, Antonia Gómez Rodríguez, and Desirée Hernández Folch. 

While the main suspect was already in a holding cell, the autopsies of the three victims were carried out.

The first body was that of Toni Gomez Rodriguez. She had been the one wearing the watch that had led to the discovery of the bodies. Her arms had been bound behind her back. Toni's remains showed various signs of rape, but her hymen was still intact. Therefore, if rape had occurred, it had most likely been anally. Toni was found without her head attached, but her cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. It has not been proven if her head was separated because of decapitation or the decomposition process.

The second body was Desirée Hernandez Folch. She had also been found with her arms bound behind her with black rope. She was not wearing socks which was considered to be out-of-place. Her head was also detached from her body, and her nipples had been removed using some kind of pliers. Her genitals showed signs of rape, both vaginally and anally. She had died because of a gunshot to the head, but she also had stab wounds to her torso. 

Lastly, doctors examined the body of Miriam Garcia Iborra. She had also been found without socks. Her right hand was missing, so were several of her teeth. Like the others, Miriam's body showed signs of rape, but in her case, it looked like part of the violence had happened after her death. 

As soon as it was confirmed that the bodies were in fact, those of the three missing girls, media stormed to both La Romana and Alcàsser. Naturally, everybody tried to be the first to get the thoughts and opinions of the family members involved. For example, in the US or UK, this kind of media frenzy is seen as pretty standard, but in Spain, people still look back to this time and see it as an embarrassment. And with good reason, the media was all over the poor girls’ families, asking about how they felt to know their daughters had been killed, how they felt to know two of them were found with their heads removed. They did not care at all. The media broadcasted every single gruesome detail about the murders they possibly could find. It was not about journalism and finding the truth anymore. It was all about the shock-factor and sensation.

After the horrifying details of Miriam's, Toni's, and Desiree's deaths found their way to the public, it was not a surprise that people were ready to condemn the first person presented to them. And still, the case against Miguel was not the strongest. He just happened to know somebody whose name was on a piece of paper allegedly found nearby the bodies. And his car may have looked similar to the one seen on the night of the disappearance. There was only circumstantial evidence against Miguel, but still, around midnight January 28, he confessed. 

It is good to note that Miguel’s second statement took place around midnight, too, 24h after the first one. We do not know if Miguel was allowed to eat or sleep during this period. We also do not know who he had been speaking to or what kind of conditions he had been kept in. Nevertheless, Miguel told the investigators how he and Antonio Angles had taken the girls who had been hitchhiking. He did not say what time. Miguel stated Miriam, Toni and Desiree went with them willingly. Curious was that Miguel told the investigators they had used Blue SEAT Ronda, not the white Opel. The two then took the girls out to La Romana. According to Miguel, girls did not have any concerns during the two-hour drive. Miguel claimed he had sexual interactions with fourteen-year-old Desiree later that night, while Antonio went off with fourteen-year-old Miriam and fifteen-year-old Toni. At this point, Miguel does not mention anything about girls fighting back, so basically, everything was allegedly consensual between the girls and the two older men. 

But then, Miguel claimed he heard three gunshots in the distance. He doesn't really explain where he was or why he left the girls with Antonio. But all three girls were now dead. They then proceeded to wrap up the three teens inside a rug they had taken from a nearby house before dumping them into a freshly dug pit. The events took place during the coldest month in Spain and in the middle of the night, and it would have taken a considerable amount of time to gif the shallow grave for their three victims.

Miguel's story would later change many times, and he would claim that he made the first confession just because of the Spanish Civil Guard torturing him. Nevertheless, the police did not consider any other possibilities anymore and quickly launched a search for Antonio Angles.

Antonio had been arrested several times in the past, usually for drugs. Still, his last arrest had come from binding a woman named Nuria Pera to a pillar in one of the backrooms of his family home and beating her up for hours and hours for stealing a bag of heroin. When the Civil Guard finally came to the scene after a tip from Antonio’s brother Ricardo, Nuria had been chained to that pillar for around 25 hours. Antonio was convicted, but he escaped while visiting home on a six-day pass in March 1992. Nobody really knew why he was released for this pass after not being in prison even for a year. But when his six-day pass was over, Antonio did not return back into his cell.

After that, authorities have not had any knowledge of his whereabouts. Not even after the search efforts following Miguel's confession. There were even rumours that Antonio had actually been at the apartment on January 27 when the police came to look for his brother, but he had jumped from the 4th-floor window and disappeared. Without any clues, the only choice was to state that they had lost the trail of Antonio Angles just a week after Miguel's confession.

On January 29, a second autopsy was performed on the bodies of Miriam, Toni and Desiree at the request of their families. The first autopsy had been poorly executed and, unfortunately, destroyed much of the evidence. For example, during the first autopsy, the bodies had been washed clean with water causing any forensic evidence to be ruined. Still, during the second autopsy, the forensics team was able to find fifteen individual hairs on the bodies. Almost all of them were pubic hairs. DNA testing was not yet commonly used back then, but these hairs would show their importance later.

Another blow to the investigation was the fact that the videos of two autopsies went missing or were deleted. 

After the second autopsy, Miguel changed his confession. This time he gave more detail, saying he and Antonio had picked up the girls in Picassent at around 8pm. In the car, Antonio had hit one of the girls in the mouth with a gun, breaking her teeth—which is consistent with the findings of the autopsy reports. Still, Miguel did not reveal the exact location they had taken Miriam, Toni, and Desiree, but this time he said they had taken the girls with the purpose to rape and torture them. Also, in this confession, he admitted that the car they drove was, in fact, the white Opel Corsa.

Then, on March 29, Miguel changed his story once again, this time stating he had nothing to do with the murders of the Alcàsser Girls. Instead, he said that on Friday 13, 1992, they had been shopping and bar hopping with Antonio and Mauricio after robbing a bank a few days earlier. So, he was nowhere near the three girls that evening.

Of course, that was not the end of it. Miguel changed his mind again and confessed to being at the scene of the crimes. Miguel said that he and Antonio had picked the three girls up as they were hitchhiking, promising to take them to the Coolor nightclub. But as they drove past the club without stopping, Miriam, Toni and Desiree wanted to know what was up. Miguel stated that he asked Antonio to turn around and leave the girls, but he did not listen. Instead, they drove to the rural area of ​​La Romana and took the teens to a half-demolished hut. There they tied the girls up and sexually assaulted two of them on a mattress left in the shack. After leaving to get something to eat, the pair returned, and Antonio sexually assaulted the third teen. 

According to Miguel, the following day, Antonio grabbed a gun and fired three shots. One for each girl. It was also Antonio who placed the carpet at the bottom of the pit and disposed of the bodies of their three victims. Miguel stated that he was scared and just followed Antonio's lead that day, saying:

"You let yourself go and you don't really know how to get out."

Miguel's stories continued to change numerous times until his trial finally started after many delays on Monday, May 12, 1997. The trial was one of the biggest in the history of Spain and lasted almost three months, altogether 49 sessions. Miguel's defence argued there was no physical evidence linking him nor Antonio to the crime scene. The only thing that even remotely tied them to the murders was a pamphlet from a nearby hospital with the name of Enrique Angles. 

Also, the DNA of the hairs found on the bodies and their clothes during the second autopsy proved problematic. Twelve of the hairs proved NOT to come from Miguel OR Antonio. Instead, the DNA sequences belonged to several different people, possibly between five and seven individuals. The remaining three hairs were damaged and could not be analysed. So there was no DNA evidence linking Miguel or Antonio to the crimes.

There was also one big unanswered question: Why? What was the reason behind the gruesome crime? According to many of Antonio’s friends and family, he was homosexual, so the prosecutor did not use pleasure as a motive. Instead, they said Antonio hated women, and Miguel went along with him out of fear. After all, Antonio had been abusive towards his own mother and had kidnapped and beaten a woman before. However, as Antonio was not there to give his side of the story, and Miguel’s confessions changed numerous times, we are left to guess what really happened.

Miguel Ricart was sentenced to 170 years in prison on Friday, September 5, 1997, for kidnapping, rape, and murder of the three young girls. However, Antonio Angles was, and still is to this day, considered the main culprit of the crime, but he has not been seen by Spanish Officials since March of 1992. 

Antonio was allegedly spotted in the Catarroja area by multiple people within a month after the discovery of the bodies. First, by a taxi driver who drove him there and then by a hairdresser, who reported that Antonio was dying his hair from blond back to a more natural colour. He also reportedly tried to get a room at a hostel named Boluda, but the owner recognised his face. After all, Antonio was one of the most wanted people in the whole country. But by the time police arrived, Antonio was gone.

Later, Antonio was reportedly spotted by several different truck drivers around Valencia, who told the authorities that Antonio, who usually looked neat and trimmed, now looked untidy and had weeks’ worth of stubble. He was also seen in Vilamarxant (Valencia) soon after the murders before being spotted in Minglanilla (Cuenca). That was the last place in Spain Antonio was ever seen before he was subsequently spotted in Lisbon, Portugal, in March 1993.  

Many theories of his whereabouts after that have emerged during the years, the first one being he boarded the boat City of Plymouth as a stowaway before jumping overboard as he was discovered near the coast of Ireland. Others say he was thrown into the sea by the crew of the cargo ship. Whichever the case, Antonio was never seen again.

Another theory was that Antonio escaped to Brazil through Portugal. This rumor came from a Portuguese drug addict Joaquim Carvalho who allegedly accommodated Antonio for a couple of weeks. The two men had been friends for a long time, but it seemed that now Antonio took advantage of Joaquim’s friendliness and stole his passport before disappearing again. As Antonio had been born in São Paulo, he had dual nationality, and many thought he tried to find a ship to take him to Brazil. 

But all of this is speculation, and the story of Antonio Angles has become a myth, a legend. How was one man able to run away, primarily by foot and disappear when the whole country of Spain was after him?

For a moment, it was thought that maybe, just maybe, the search for Antonio finally came to its end when a human skull was found from the sea by fishermen off Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland. The skull was held in University College Cork, where it was examined. It was determined to be the skull of a man aged between 20 and 40. Spanish authorities quickly became interested in the skull when they learned it had a deviated septum, which is a feature that Antonio Angles also had. Could it be that he had actually jumped in the sea trying to escape and drowned? DNA from the skull was tested against the DNA of Antonio's mother, Neusa Martins, but unfortunately, the tests came back negative.

There are those who believe Antonia and Miguel were NOT the real culprits. Miriam's father, Fernando García, doubts the official version of the events, calling the two men "just a pawn." Instead, he believed his own investigation showed evidence that the girls may have been killed and tortured by men with high social status. One of the theories even mentioned the possibility that the girls were captured and filmed for a snuff film – however, there is no evidence to support the allegations. 

Nevertheless, Fernando attended a TV show called “Tonight We Cross the Mississippi” and, after the start of the trial, El Juí d'Alcàsser (Trial of Alcàsser) on Channel 9. He was accompanied by journalist Juan Ignacio Blanco. In these two programs, Fernando and Juan presented a conspiracy theory in which they argued that people from high levels of politics and Spanish society formed a network of paedophilia and that the Alcàsser Girls had been victims of this group. According to their theory, Miguel Ricart and Antonio Angles had not been anything else than scapegoats. Still, neither Fernando nor Juan was able to provide evidence that would verify the existence of the so-called “La Moraleja clan” or a pedophile network made up of people from Spanish high society. Fernando was eventually sentenced to pay compensation of 270,000 euros and a fine of 14,760 euros because of his severe allegations towards Civil Guard officers and the prosecutor of the case in the program of the 'Trial of Alcàsser.’

Then, to everybody’s surprise, Miguel Ricart was released after just 20 years in prison on November 29, 2013, after the Parot doctrine was revoked. As Spain is part of the European Union, the country has to follow laws and rules about terms of imprisonment put in place by the EU, which meant that for a long time, the maximum length of a prison sentence in Spain was 30 years. At the same time, Spain reserved the right to keep violent offenders behind bars for their entire term. For Miguel, this would have meant that he was going to die in prison.

However, in October 2013, after an ETA (Basque separatist organisation) prisoner had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights about her over a 3000-year sentence, the Parot doctrine was revoked. As a result, the Spanish State was forced to pay 30,000 euros in compensation, and they had to follow the ruling of the European Court in every other criminal case. 

And so, Miguel was released after spending just 20 of his 170-year sentence in prison. After his release, Miguel has given only one short interview, in which he stated he was innocent of killing the three young girls, and the prosecution had framed him. After that, Miguel has been living a quiet life, trying to get a fresh start, which is difficult as everyone in Spain knew about him, and he has been recognised everywhere. He was last seen officially on the street in Spain’s capital, Madrid, in a routine police check in January 2021. 

Antonio Angles still appears on the Interpol website as one of the most wanted fugitives in the world today.

Despite the errors in the investigation, the weird DNA evidence, and one of the main suspects being missing all this time, the murders of the Alcàsser Girls are considered solved. Still, many unanswered questions remain and many are waiting and hoping for the whole truth to come out about what really happened to Miriam, Toni and Desiree almost 30 years ago, on that November night.

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