By Jon Clarke and Elena Gocmen Rueda
ONE of Spain’s most famous murder cases is being re-opened.
Almost three decades since a trio of teenage girls were raped then brutally murdered in Valencia, a Europe-wide appeal is to be launched for the prime suspect.
The Europol red notice hopes to locate the whereabouts of Antonio Angles, who was last seen on a boat bound for Ireland.
There have long been suspicions, in particular from the victim’s parents, that a high-level paedophile network may have been behind the sex murders.
Police have also long thought that Angles was helped in his escape from prosecution, having twice been apprehended, finally vanishing in Ireland.
Alongside the National Police’s crack UDYCO unit, a court in the Valencia town of Alzira wants to grill Angles over his involvement in the triple murders of November 1992.
The ‘Alcasser case’ – which has become a hit Netflix series – saw the trio Antonia Gamez, 15; Miriam Garcia, 14; and Desire Hernandez, 14, kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered.
The trio, from the village of Alcasser, had been hitchhiking to the Color discotheque, in Picassent, where a party was being held by their high school.
They were dropped off at a petrol station by a couple en route before being picked up by another mystery car.
Co-accused Miguel Ricart told investigators he and Angles had been joined by a third, as yet unidentified man, to kidnap the girls.
He confessed that they had been tortured and raped over a two-day period, with Angles acting as the ringleader.
Ricart served 21 years in prison but was released in 2013, with his current whereabouts also unknown.
The bodies of the girls were found 75 days later by beekeepers in January of 1993 and the brutalities they suffered while held up in a mountain shack in inland Valencia shocked Spain.
Europol is set to launch a publicity campaign this week around Europe with Angles considered to be the perpetrator of the triple murder.
Last month, police began to revisit the case, firstly inspecting the cars of Angles and Ricart.
The cars, an Opel Corsa and a Seat Ronda, are being carefully combed for biological remains.
Police had opened a national manhunt for Angles in 1992 but he always remained one step ahead.
He had somehow got through Spain on back roads to Portugal, where he stayed with an acquaintance in Cascais, reported to be a drug dealer, for over a month.
They eventually lost track of him in March 1993 after he stowed away on a ship, the City of Plymouth, in Lisbon, using false papers, on March 18.
He had managed to get into a lifeboat of the British-registered ship, which was bound for Liverpool.
However, he was caught and put in a secure cabin by the crew, who radioed ahead to the Irish authorities to inform them they would drop him off to police in Dublin when they arrived a few days later on March 24, 1993.
But when they arrived he was not to be found and the following day a life jacket from the ship was found floating in Dublin Bay, close to the shore.
It is believed he somehow received help in his escape from the ship, as well as his shielding while on the run, with detectives believing this could be from a wider paedophile network.
At the time, Portugal was seen as something of a paradise for child molesters in Europe and a later investigation, the Casa Pia case, was to expose the depths of depravity the country had suffered for decades.
Some 50 hairs of individuals were found at the mountain hut leading to claims by an association Laxshmi, that there may have been multiple individuals involved in the sexual abuse of the three teenagers.
There have long been claims of a cover up and that the case was deliberately shut down by the Guardia Civil and courts at the time.
National Police are now taking over the reins and are set to officially interview retired captain Kenneth Stevens as part of their fresh probes over the escape of a key suspect in the murders of three teenage Spanish girls.
Stevens had been interviewed by the Gardai in 1993 about Angles’ escape and told Spain’s La Sexta TV network in 2018 that Angles must have had help to escape.
He insisted he had been locked in a secure cabin after being discovered on board.
“It was impossible for him to open the door from inside,” he told journalists on TV programme Equipo Investigacion.
There have been many reported sightings of Angles around the globe over the last three decades, as far as Brazil.
The murder case became one of Spain’s most successful TV programmes on 2019 in the five-part Netflix documentary, The Alcasser Murders.
Antonio Angles Martins, originally from Brazil, is still on Interpol’s list of the most wanted fugitives around the world.
He is 175cms (5ft, 8ins) tall and has blue eyes and natural blonde hair. He has a series of tattoos and if still alive he would be 55 years old.
Pls contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information on Angles.
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