The self-confessed killer of an eight-year-old Spanish boy named Gabriel Cruz has told the court how she buried the child and then pretended to search for him for 12 days, until she was caught moving the body to a different location near Rodalquilar, in the southern province of Almería.
I have lost everything. I have lost Gabriel. I have lost my daughter. I have lost Ángel
Ana Julia Quezada
“All I did was take him by his two little arms and place him inside the hole,” said Ana Julia Quezada, who was the girlfriend of the dead boy’s father, Ángel Cruz. Hundreds of police officers and volunteers participated in the search for Gabriel inside the Cabo de Gata natural park, a sparsely populated area covered with desert scrubland that the child reportedly knew well. Gabriel went missing on February 27 as he was covering a short distance to his cousins’ house in Las Hortichuelas.
“He [the father] was desperate and I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to tell him...” a teary-eyed Quezada told the court. “I have lost everything. I have lost Gabriel. I have lost my daughter. I have lost Ángel.”
In April, investigating judge Rafael Soriano noted in his decision to deny Quezada bail that “the evidence reveals a lack of feeling and humanity that she herself recognized, and which, if confirmed, would represent pure cruelty.”
The judge also noted that during the search, she “gave a false appearance of concern for the disappearance and fate of the boy” and “kept up the show, going even further and pretending to find a shirt belonging to the boy.”
Court papers said that Quezada tried to give herself an alibi by doing painting jobs at the property where she had buried the child, and took steps to throw off police investigators until she could “get rid of the body” by moving it to a greenhouse, according to tapped phone calls. Quezada was stopped by police as she was transporting the body in the trunk of her car.
“I took him out of the hole, I grabbed Gabriel and I put him in the trunk,” she told the court this week.
When Quezada confessed to the crime, she said she acted in self-defense, claiming that the youngster got angry and attacked her with a hatchet. She told investigators that she hit the boy with the blunt part of the tool, leaving him unconscious. In a state of panic, she then strangled him, stripping him of his clothes and burying the body.
The Gabriel Cruz case also prompted a re-examination of an earlier case involving Quezada. In March 1996, Quezada – then 21 years of age – was living in the northern Spanish city of Burgos after moving there from her native Dominican Republic. On March 13, her four-year-old daughter died after falling out of the window of the family home, but police concluded that it was an accident. Quezada has another daughter who is now 24.
English version by Susana Urra.