The shocking Netflix miniseries based on a crime that shocked an entire country

The shocking Netflix miniseries based on a crime that shocked an entire country
The shocking Netflix miniseries based on a crime that shocked an entire country


Warning: this article contains spoilers for the series “The Asunta Case.”

It was a case full of unknowns – some still unsolved – that kept an entire country in suspense. The disappearance of a 12-year-old girl and the subsequent discovery of her body abandoned in the countryside gave rise to a frantic police operation that soon captured the interest of the media.

The girl, originally from China, was adopted when she was 1 year old by Alfonso Basterra and Rosario Porto, a wealthy couple from Santiago de Compostela, in the autonomous community of Galicia, in the northwest of Spain. Her adoptive parents named the girl Asunta and raised her in a privileged and apparently happy environment, until the police and judicial investigation showed a totally different image of her.

The events happened in 2013 and now make up the plot of the Netflix series The Asunta case, based on real events but with creative elements to preserve identities and adapt to a fictional narrative rhythm.

Tristán Ulloa and Candela Peña step into the shoes of Alfonso Basterra and Rosario Porto in the Netflix series

Born in the southeastern Chinese city of Yongzhou on September 30, 2000, the baby Fang Yong was put up for adoption after her first birthday. of life to the Spanish couple formed by Alfonso Basterra and Rosario Porto (played in the series by Tristán Ulloa and Candela Peña).

He was a journalist and she chose the profession of her father, a wealthy lawyer who was honorary consul of France and was well known in his city. The doctors had recommended that they not have children.since she suffered from lupus erythematosus, a disease that could endanger her life if she became pregnant.

The girlalready with her identity of Asunta Basterra, He soon began to show signs of his intelligence. He attended private schools and learned quickly, especially languages. She enjoyed vacations with her family, she had many friends and her adoptive grandparents adored her. But, when there was just over a week left for Asunta to turn 13, Alfonso and Rosario went to the Police to report their disappearance.

It was on the night of Saturday, September 21, 2013. Hours later, at dawn, The girl was found dead next to a secondary road in a wooded area, several kilometers south of the city. She was tied with orange ropes, there were no signs of sexual abuse and appeared to have died from asphyxiation, something that the autopsy would later confirm.

Asunta Basterra died on September 21, 2013. She was 12 years oldSOCIAL NETWORKS

The girl’s parents collaborated in the investigation, which turned against them as the agents found evidence and detected inconsistencies in their testimonies. The main of these clues was the discovery, in a rural house owned by the family and close to the scene of the events in the town of Teo, of orange ropes similar to those used to tie Asunta’s body.

Besides, The autopsy revealed that the minor had high doses of lorazepam in her system., a powerful tranquilizer and anxiolytic that is only sold in Spain with a doctor’s prescription. And both Rosario and Alfonso offered different versions of their movements on the Saturday afternoon when the disappearance occurred. With all this, Rosario was arrested and investigated for homicide on September 24 and Alfonso on the 25th..

Rosario Porto was arrested three days after the eventGETTY IMAGES

The process to clarify the facts was long and The popular jury’s verdict came more than two years after Asunta’s death. Meanwhile, the investigations revealed important details about the marriage and their relationship with the girl that influenced the investigation of the case and the subsequent trial.

The year 2013 had been especially turbulent for the lawyer and the journalist. In January of that year, he discovered her infidelity, which led to her almost imminent divorce from her, although the two reached an agreement in the following months to share custody of her adopted daughter. As part of the pact, Alfonso moved to an apartment near Rosario and Asunta’s home.

In July a strange event occurred in which A masked man allegedly entered Asunta’s room at night and tried to strangle her.. The alleged intruder fled after being surprised by Rosario who, however, did not file a report with the Police.

That same month, the girl showed signs of drowsiness during her music classes, and she told the teacher that her mother gave her some powder that made her sleep. The police investigation revealed that Alfonso bought several boxes of the painkiller lorazepam both in July (when the episodes of lethargy occurred in class) and in September (days before the little girl’s death).

Rosario Porto, Asunta’s adoptive mother, when she was still free days after the girl’s deathGETTY IMAGES

Asunta’s adoptive father defended at all times that the medications were for his wife, who went through very delicate moments and was hospitalized. In the series this complicated stage is related to an alleged sentimental breakup between Rosario and her lover, Vicente.

The oral phase of the trial began in June 2014at which time the Prosecutor’s Office requested 18 years for each of the parents and the popular accusation, 20. However, it was not until on September 29, 2015 when, after the selection of the jury and with 84 witnesses and 60 experts, the process really started in the midst of enormous media attention in the Provincial Court of La Coruña.

At the trial All types of evidence were collated to try to reconstruct the facts. The forensic experts were unable to determine the exact time of the minor’s death, so they estimated it, without absolute certainty, between 7 and 8 p.m. on September 21. This made the investigation had to be supported by testimonies of those who saw those involved that day and in videos from surveillance cameras located in the places they passed through.

According to the researchers’ reconstruction, this is how the fateful September 21, 2013 unfolded:

Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra defended their innocence at all times. On October 30, 2015, the jury found them guilty, determining that Rosario suffocated the girl with the connivance of her ex-husband. The sentence was announced just two weeks later, on November 12: 18 years in prison for each for murder with aggravating relationship and abuse of authority.

Rosario Porto in one of her first statements in 2013GETTY IMAGES

The sentence did not allude to the possible motive for the crime, which to this day is the biggest mystery of the case.. There are several theories, none conclusive, about why he could have led his adoptive parents to murder Asunta. One of them suggests that Asunta could have been seen as an obstacle in the relationship of her parents, who were going through emotional turbulence after her divorce.

The mental health of Rosario was also cited as a possible trigger, given his emotional instability and several episodes of severe depression, anxiety and desire to die, evidenced during the trial. A possible economic motive related to the inheritance from Asunta’s maternal grandparents was also explored, but this was ruled out since Rosario was the only heir.

Another line of investigation addressed a possible sexual motive after semen was found on Asunta’s clothes, although this evidence was discarded because it came from contamination in the laboratory. Nor were any incriminating conclusions obtained from the pornographic material found on Asunta’s father’s laptop. . So, The case was left with multiple unanswered questions..

Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra were unanimously found guilty by a popular juryNETFLIX

After two failed attempts, Rosario Porto committed suicide in prison on November 18, 2020, and Alfonso Basterra is serving a sentence until 2031. In 2017, Basterra wrote a letter from prison to Ramón Campos, creator of the new Netflix production and also of the previous documentary The Asunta case: Operation Nenúfar of that year.

In it he once again defended his innocence, He regretted not having been able to protect his daughter from the real “murderer” and expressed his intention to “disappear” when he leaves prison. “I only have one reason to stay alive, which is none other than to be a free man again and reunite with my girl, never before,” wrote Alfonso Basterra.

“My true sentence is not prison, Mr. Campos, but not having been able to help her when she needed me most. That’s something I can never forgive myself for. So when you learn of my death, I beg you to uncork a bottle of cava and toast with your loved ones. Only then will you understand that I have recovered my happiness. My girl needs me and I need her”.

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