9 May, 2024 @ 16:56
1 min read

True crime doc row in Spain: Mother of murdered boy demands an end to Netflix shows that ‘use’ tragedies – while father of teen whose body was never found insists they help expose police failures

DISTRAUGHT: Gabriel's parents spent 12 days looking for their son

PATRICIA Ramirez, the mother of murdered eight-year-old boy Gabriel Cruz, has publicly called for television and documentary producers to scrap any plans to make content based on her son’s story, accusing them of trying to make money ‘from his death’. 

Ramirez made her appeal via a video message she released earlier this week, in the wake of the debut on Netflix of The Asunta Case, a dramatised version of the events surrounding the murder of 12-year-old Asunta Basterra in northern Spain back in 2013. Her parents were convicted of the killing.

“From the start we have not wanted to be in the limelight with this, we have rejected all kinds of offers that have been made to us and we have continually stated that we do not want to participate in the making of any documentaries or series about Gabriel’s death,” she said in the message.

Gabriel Cruz – who was known by his nickname of pescaito, or little fish – was killed in Almeria province in 2018 by the then-partner of his father, Ana Julia Quezada. The case received huge media attention at the time, given a 12-day search for Gabriel.

Read more: Netflix drops trailer for highly-anticipated mini-series ‘El Caso Asunta’

gabriel cruz
Murder victim Gabriel Cruz.

His body was eventually discovered on March 11 in the boot of Quezada’s car as she was trying to move it from the area she had buried it after murdering him. She was sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Ramirez’s initiative, however, has not been well received by all. 

The father of Marta del Castillo, another young (apparent) murder victim, responded to her video message by defending true crime productions. 

Antonio del Castillo wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that such series or documentaries ‘lay bare legal and police mistakes’, adding: “My daughter has never been found.”

Marta del Castillo disappeared in Seville on January 24, 2009, at the age of 17, and was presumably murdered. Her then-boyfriend Miguel Carcaño Delgado was convicted of her killing, but has given a series of different accounts of events and stated that the body was located in a number of different places. 

The remains of Marta have never been located, and Del Castillo has been highly critical of the police investigations into the case. 

Ramirez was quick to respond to Antonio del Castillo’s message on X. 

“Señor Antonio, I am deeply sorry for the pain my words may cause you,” she wrote. “I beg you, do not interpret them to be against you, I am talking about my son, GABRIEL and the right – after FINDING HIM – to his memory and obscurity. You are doing the unspeakable to find your daughter.”

Ramirez has also organised a demonstration this coming Saturday in Almeria to draw attention to her campaign. The slogan will be: “Our little fish are not for sale.” 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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