‘Where is Marta?’: 4 failures in the investigation and loose ends of the case that puts the Netflix docuseries on the table

Developed by Paula Cons together with a group of eight journalists, the documentary series on the Marta del Castillo case consists of three episodes that are already available on the streaming platform.

It was announced just a week before its debut on Netflix and until then we did not know of its existence, but Where is Martha?, the documentary series ‘true crime’ about the disappearance and murder of the young Sevillian Marta del Castillo in 2009, has come like a hurricane to the catalog of the ‘streaming’ platform, where it has quickly taken over the Top 1 of the most popular carousel.

In three episodes of approximately one hour, the result of almost two years of intense work, the team of eight journalists led by director Paula Cons not only thoroughly dissects the media case that has made hundreds (if not thousands) of headlines since the A young woman from Seville disappeared in 2009, but also raises a parallel investigation that puts on the table the loose ends that were left in the case, still completely unsolved due to the fact that the body of the victim remains missing, as well as the mistakes made during the crime investigation. Faults that now, summarized and exposed with professionalism and time in between, seem to be garrafales and that, if they had not been committed, the case, perhaps, could have been resolved with the justice that both the victim and his shattered family deserved.

But before exposing the loose ends and research errors that could have resulted not in a different ending for the victim, but for the perpetrators of the crime and in the discovery of Marta’s body, let’s make a brief summary of the Marta del Castillo Case: The facts that in Where is Martha? They are related back to 2009, when, on the night of January 24, a young Sevillian woman did not return home after saying goodbye to her mother saying that she was going to see a friend. After a first night without paying attention to the family’s complaint, the authorities began the search and investigation the next day, with the victim’s ex-boyfriend, Miguel Carcaño, the main suspect from the first moment. Three weeks after the disappearance, the young man confessed to the murder, implicated some friends and said he had disposed of the body in the Guadalquivir River.. After his first self-incriminating statement, the confessed murderer changed his version up to eight times. Of the two trials held, only Carcaño ended up being sentenced to prison among the five people involved and, to this day, the victim’s body remains missing despite countless hours of work, resources and intense searching.

A case that shocked a country and whose wound remains open more than 12 years later, with parents who have not been able to bury their daughter and who continue to seek to know the truth of what happened to Marta del Castillo that January 24, 2009 .

1. AN INVESTIGATION THAT STARTED LATE


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The documentary Where is Martha? stresses this fact from the outset. Marta del Castillo left home in the afternoon, telling her mother that she was going to meet with her ex-boyfriend, Miguel, to talk about something. The young woman would never appear again. At night, worried that her daughter had not shown signs of life, her relatives began to call her friends. Nobody knew anything. Her father, Antonio del Castillo, reported the disappearance of his daughter to the authorities that same night, but it was not until the next day that an investigation began.

In fact, Antonio del Castillo himself went that same night to the apartment on León XIII street where it would later be known that the murder had been committed. There he touched the persiones and asked a neighbor if there was anyone in the house. But nobody responded. Hours later, Marta’s friends also went there, where Miguel Carcaño’s brother received them. There was a strong smell of cleaning coming off the floor.

Had the investigation begun that same night, the agents could have found key clues to the resolution of the case.

However, since the Marta del Castillo Case, the search protocol for missing persons has been modified, which, in the case of a minor, will begin immediately when the disappearance is reported.

2. TWO TRIALS FOR THE SAME CRIME, BUT CONTRADICTORY TO EACH OTHER

One of the peculiarities of the Marta el Castillo case is that, in 2012, two different trials were held for the same crime. The reason that this was the case is not an error, but a necessity resulting from a particularity of the case, which is that one of those implicated in the crime, Javier García “El Cuco”, was a minor. Thus, the first trial held placed the minor on the bench, while the second placed the four adults on the bench: Miguel Carcaño, who had confessed to the crime, and the other three accused for their relationship to the crime: Francisco Javier Delgado , Samuel Benítez, and María García Mendaro.

The shocking thing here is that both sentences are contradictory. To begin with in the first trial, during which the adults availed themselves of their right not to testify, it is established as proven facts that Carcaño disposed of the body with “el Cuco” and together with Francisco Javier Delgado; while, in the second sentence, it is established as “an unknown third party”. The result of the difference? That in the first the minor is sentenced to the minimum penalty for concealment and, in the second, Carcaño’s brother is acquitted for lack of evidence.

The sentences of both trials are also contradicted in: 1) the time at which the body of Leo XIII was removed, 2) the presence of Samuel -in one he is placed at the scene of the crime and the other not-, 3 ) in the way of removing the body from the floor, and 4) in the calls that are taken for granted in both sentences.


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3. THE INVESTIGATION THAT WAS NOT CARRIED OUT: Where do mobile phones take us?

One of the highlights of the documentary takes place in the third episode, in which the series takes a turn and takes the reins to expose the results of its own research, the result of arduous work of years of documentation in which they have been carried out. dozens of interviews and analyzed in detail each of the elements surrounding the case.

As set out in Where is Martha? During the investigation, no evidence and evidence were gathered that could have been key to the resolution of the case. and have provided answers to some of the questions that remain open. Something important if we take into account that it was precisely the lack of evidence and evidence that caused the participation of the defendants who were exonerated in the adult trial to be proven.

The main thing is the analysis of the geolocation of mobile phones, which would have allowed them to reconstruct the movements of those involved in the crime that night and even have led to the whereabouts of Marta’s body. Thanks to the documentary, the Court of Instruction number 4 of Seville has delivered to a judicial expert the mobile phone of Miguel Carcaño, at the same time that the
telephone companies the raw data of the defendants’ phones. The result could be crucial for the clarification of many questions.

4. THE FAILURE OF THE SURVEILLANCE CAMERA

Another error in the investigation resolved by the documentary is related to one of the main alibis of Francisco Javier Delgado, brother of Miguel Carcaño and accused by the latter in his latest version of having been the material author of the crime. According to his latest version, which Marta del Castillo’s father considers the most credible, Francisco Javier would have killed the young woman after witnessing an argument with his brother and would have organized the entire subsequent assembly, which would explain the multiple versions and the fact that Miguel Carcaño says he does not know where the body is.

Carcaño’s brother is the only one of the accused who participates in the documentary. He does it with his back to the camera and on several occasions the interviewer puts him in front of the ropes with proven data as that night he only opened his bar for two hours and barely made cash, as the cameras in the building of his ex-wife where he was supposedly visiting his daughter when the crime was committed were on daylight savings time, which would show that he left there before what it says and could pass through Leon XIII. Again, the analysis of the geolocation of the mobiles would have proven whether or not he was telling the truth.


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The work of Paula Cons and her team in Where is Martha? it is absolutely flawless. In addition to the reconstruction of the case from numerous points of view and without leaving a single loose end to analyze, the Netflix docuseries contains never-before-seen images that today, 12 years after the event, overwhelm anyone. Likewise, unknown details are also revealed, such as the tests to which Miguel Carcaño has been subjected to obtain the location of the body and the meeting that the convicted person had with the victim’s father in jail.

The three episodes that make up Where is Martha? are available in full on Netflix.