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Gabriel, the murdered child whose death shocked Spain

Ⓒ Twitter de la Guardia Civil/AFP – – – | An undated image of the child Gabriel Cruz taken from the Twitter account of the Civil Guard

The discovery of the body of Gabriel, an eight-year-old boy, in the boot of his father’s Dominican girlfriend’s car on Monday plunged Spain into dismay, to the point of generating calls to reestablish the death penalty abolished in 1995.

“Death penalty! Daughter of p …!”, Was heard Sunday night in front of the direction of the Civil Guard in Almeria (south), where a crowd showed its anger against the woman of 43 years, there stopped.

Calls for hard justice were also multiplied by social networks. An online petition signed halfway through Monday by 158,000 people demanded life imprisonment against the woman, without having been imputed.

Another petition, with more than 220,000 rubrics, urged the Dominican Republic to demand their extradition, to prevent Ana Julia Quezada from enjoying the “comfort” of Spanish prisons or from Spanish taxpayers who pay for her imprisonment.

Given this, Patricia Ramírez, the child’s mother, made a call to avoid the “words of anger”.

– “It was not me!” –

Quezada was arrested on Sunday in the town of Puebla de Vícar, where she lives, in flagrante delicto: Gabriel’s body was in the trunk of his vehicle, wrapped in a blanket.

“It was not me, I took the car this morning!”, The woman is heard telling the Civil Guards when she is arrested, according to an amateur video.

The Spanish media followed closely the case since February 27, when Gabriel left his grandmother’s house in the small town of Las Hortichuelas, a few kilometers from the beaches of Cabo de Gata, a natural park with paradisiacal beaches in the south of Spain.

The only child of separated parents, he went to his cousins’ house to play, but he never arrived. According to the press, the autopsy revealed that he died of suffocation, perhaps strangled.

Hundreds of volunteers faced the wind and the March rains in successive batters in the area, trying to find the small one with dark hair and wide smile.

“I’ve slept four hours a night,” said one of the journalists who followed the case, Fran Gavilán, from the Ideal de Almería (Andalusia), who describes Gabriel as an “introverted but affable and sympathetic” child. to testimonies.

Before being arrested, Quezada was for the public the companion of Gabriel’s desperate father, who gave interviews to the press wearing a T-shirt with the image of the child. But the Civil Guard had been watching her for days.

According to Gavilan, the alarms went off when she discovered a Gabriel shirt in an area that had already been checked twice.

But also because, on two occasions, when the researchers requested the mobile phone, as well as the rest of the people close to the child, he said he had lost it.

The Spanish ruling class showed its dismay this Monday, from King Felipe VI, who kept a minute of silence, to the president of the government, Mariano Rajoy, who presented his condolences to the family.

– Reviewable permanent prison –

Although Spain is one of the countries with the lowest homicide rate in the world, the case reignited an ongoing debate on life imprisonment, reserved for the most serious crimes, against minors or of a terrorist nature.

The Popular Party (right) of Rajoy wants to extend the so-called revisable permanent prison to other crimes, while the left would like to revoke it.

The sentence, which disappeared in 1928 and was reinstated in 2015, implies a “revision” after 25 or 35 years (according to the sentence), but if it is negative, the prisoner can remain in prison for the rest of his life.

“The opposition must be responsible and reflect on the advisability of repealing the reviewable permanent prison,” said on Monday the PP spokesman, Pablo Casado.

The Congress will hold a debate on the matter this week, while the Constitutional Court is considering an appeal on the legality of the punishment.

The conservative daily La Razón said in an editorial that Gabriel’s murder sets a typical case for its application.

Meanwhile, researchers seek to know if Quezada acted alone or even if he is a repeat offender: in 1996, a girl he cared for -his daughter, according to some media- died when falling from a balcony in Burgos, but at that time the investigation was filed. without finding evidence of criminality.

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