Mexican police have released more details about the kidnapping and murder of María Villar, the niece of the head of the Spanish Football Federation, Ángel María Villar, following the arrest of a suspect in the case last week.
Villar, a 39-year-old IBM executive, was seized around 9.30pm on September 13 after leaving work in the upscale Santa Fe business district. At a press conference on Monday, Mexican police said she was taken by small-time, “extremely violent” criminals who are increasingly operating in the capital.
Villar’s death has caused shock in Spain and highlighted the dangers of life in Mexico
Police say that the suspect, who has been named only as Óscar Saúl N, told them that once the ransom had been paid, the kidnappers decided to murder Villar “on the spur of the moment.” The authorities are looking for at least two other suspects in the killing.
Villar, who had lived in Mexico City for three years, is believed to have boarded a vehicle that resembled an official taxi. She then phoned her husband to say she was headed home to the wealthy Polanco neighborhood, but as soon as she ended the call, another man entered the vehicle, according to the suspect in police custody.
As she struggled to escape, the kidnapper used some kind of Taser weapon to stun her with electric shocks, and she was then handcuffed. The kidnappers drove to the outskirts of the city, where a stop was made at an ATM and money withdrawn from her account.
Villar was then taken to a house where she was kept overnight, and the next day, her kidnappers contacted her family to demand a ransom. The money was dropped off at an address in a working-class district in Mexico City by her husband Cristiano do Vale and her cousin Gorka Villar, who had received proof that Villar was still alive.
A second cash withdrawal was made that day, but the family heard no further news from the kidnappers and the police were unable to contact them. Two days after the kidnapping, on September 15, Villar’s body was found in Santiago Tianguistenco, a small village an hour from the Mexican capital. A source close to the investigation said that Villar was suffocated with a bag over her head. Her body was then moved to a morgue in Toluca, where it was identified by family members on September 20.
Her death caused shock in Spain and highlighted the dangers of life in Mexico. In the last seven months, more than 600 kidnappings have been registered in the country, but the real number could be as high as 6,000 as only 10% of cases are thought to be reported. That is around 33 a day.
English version by Nick Lyne.