‘Stepmother’ jailed for life in Spain for killing 8-year-old Gabriel

A Dominican woman was sentenced Monday to life in prison in Spain for murdering the eight-year-old son of her Spanish partner in a case that shocked the country.

'Stepmother' jailed for life in Spain for killing 8-year-old Gabriel
Ana Julia Quezada was found guilty of killing Gabriel Cruz and hiding his body.

A jury in Almeria in southern Spain last month found Ana Julia Quezada guilty of killing the boy, who was the son of her then partner Angel Cruz.  A court on Monday handed down a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years, the stiffest possible jail term under Spanish law.   

Gabriel Cruz disappeared on February 27, 2018, after visiting his grandmother in Las Hortichuelas, a village near the coast 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Almeria.

His disappearance triggered a massive search involving hundreds of volunteers which lasted nearly two weeks.

But on March 11th, the police discovered the boy's body in the boot of a car belonging to Quezada, who had been seen taking part in the search, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with his face and speaking to reporters in tears.

He had been asphyxiated, according to the court.

Investigators began to suspect Quezada after she found a shirt belonging to the boy near the village in an area which police had searched twice.   

The case received nationwide attention after a missing person's alert went viral. An image of a blue fish — inspired by Gabriel's love of the sea — was shared on social media with the hashtag #TodosSomosGabriel, meaning “we are all Gabriel”.

Carla Navarro/ Twitter

During the trial Quezada said she had accidentally killed the boy when she covered his mouth in an attempt to silence him.

The court also ordered her to pay €250,000  ($273,000) each to the boy's mother and father for “psychological damages”, as well as €200,203 to the Spanish state to cover the costs of the search for the child.   

“Psychopaths should be locked away, far from society, so they can't hurt anyone,” the boy's father told reporters last month after the jury found her guilty.




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Spanish police hunt French double murder suspect in the Pyrenees

Aragonese police on Wednesday were on the hunt for a man suspected of killing two teachers in a French village across the border, a spokeswoman said.

Spanish police hunt French double murder suspect in the Pyrenees

The pair were shot dead on Monday afternoon in a village near the town of Tarbes, where they both worked, with the suspected gunman fleeing on a motorcycle, a source close to the French inquiry told AFP.

His motorcycle was found abandoned on the Spanish side of the border in the northeastern Aragón region, prompting Spanish police to pick up the search on Tuesday, a source close to the inquiry told AFP.

Since then police had been carrying out “a full search” of the area around Jaca, a town that lies about 200 kilometres (124 miles) southwest of Tarbes, a police spokeswoman said.

The search continued through the night and “is ongoing”, she said, without giving further details.

Neither French nor Spanish police gave any details about the suspect’s identity.

The teachers were shot dead in Pouyastruc village on Monday, prosecutors said.

The first victim, a 32-year-old woman, was found lying in the street by neighbours, while other, a man of 55, was found dead in his home, just metres away, the prosecutor said.

The suspect, who is in his 30s, was the woman’s former partner, a source close to the inquiry said.

They had two children together and were in the process of separating, suggesting the murders may have been a crime of passion.

The woman, identified as Aurelie Pardon, taught French at the school in Tarbes while the man, Gabriel Fourmigue, was a sports teacher at the same establishment who was known for representing France in bobsleigh at international level in the early 1990s.