"In your opinion, was it an extremely violent death?" private prosecution attorney Alicia Redondo asked the Civil Guard lieutenant who led the investigation into the crime of the Lardero child.
"Yes," he answered.
-And an extremely violent sexual assault?
This is how forceful the command of the Civil Guard pronounced in the second session of the trial held this Tuesday at the Provincial Court of Logroño against Francisco Javier Almeida, accused of the murder and sexual assault of Álex, nine years old, known as the crime of the child of Lardero. The lieutenant has also detailed how the minor was sexually assaulted and suffocated, the harshest part of his statement and shows the cruelty with which Almeida, 55 today, allegedly acted.
The day started with the story of a friend of Álex's parents who was present when he disappeared. They discovered that the child had allegedly been kidnapped by Almeida while they were celebrating Halloween by having dinner in a picnic area in the Plaza de Entre Ríos, in Lardero (Logroño), on October 28, 2021. It was his daughter who alerted them. She "she ran in: 'Dad, dad, a man is taking Álex'".
The man explained that his daughter, four years old at the time, told them that Almeida first tried to take her and that, when the girl refused to go with him, he took Álex. "We ran to the passage, we crossed the passage and we no longer saw Álex or anything," this friend recounted how the first moments of anguish after the disappearance were.
The Civil Guard lieutenant in charge of the investigation seconded the girl's story. Based on the testimonies collected from her and from three other minors who witnessed what happened, Almeida managed to get the child to accompany him home through a ruse: "He deceives him and convinces him to voluntarily follow him, thinking the minor, deceived, that he is going to go home to see a pet, a puppy".
According to the reconstruction of the events made by the agents, Almeida - who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the rape and murder of a real estate agent in 1998 and released on probation in April 2020 without having served his entire sentence - went that afternoon to the park where Álex played with his friends with the sole intention of looking for a victim.
The images taken by the camera in the elevator of his building indicate that he went out into the street at 8:07 p.m. "He sits on a bench, to what? To observe, he is selecting his victim. The victim is chosen randomly, the most vulnerable. Once he selects her, he goes to her and convinces her, with a language understandable to a minor, and get him to accompany him "", explained the aforementioned command. Once in the building, very close to the park, he added, Almeida gave him instructions to go up the stairs, thus avoiding the elevator, where they could run into neighbors or be recorded by cameras.
Investigators found traces of the minor's blood on Almeida's pants and on his left shoe. They also found genetic material from the alleged aggressor in eight of the 10 fingernails of the minor, as well as Almeida's biological remains in the child's underpants and vice versa: Álex's biological remains in Almeida's underpants.
The boy, the experts ruled, was alive when he was sexually assaulted. "When the minor arrived at the house, the defendant directed him to the bedroom. This is evidenced by the fact that we found the three hairs of the wig there [the boy was disguised as The Girl from the Exorcist] and because one of the two pants that the boy was wearing was found. minor", explained the lieutenant.
Once in the bedroom, the accused immobilized him and proceeded to "carry out an oral sexual assault on the minor." "Semen is found inside the mouth, as well as in the area between the eyebrows and on the left cheek," added the researcher. "From there, we consider that death comes, that it is by strangulation. We consider that it is from the back, with one arm he strangles him."
The boy, the agent stressed, had no possibility of defense, due to the obvious physical difference with respect to his aggressor and because of the space where he was, with no possibility of fleeing. "He does not have any defense capacity since he enters, since he is in an isolated, unknown setting and alone with the assailant. He was completely at the mercy of the defendant." After suffocating him, Almeida hastily dressed the child, which is why he left one of the two pants that Álex was wearing in the room.
The members of the jury transferred, through the magistrate who presides over the court, a couple of questions to the lieutenant of the Civil Guard
-From your point of view, as the head of the investigation and from your professional experience and specialist in crimes against people, did you ever notice a sign of emotional affectation or regret in the conduct of the accused? asked one of them.
"None," answered the lieutenant forcefully.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project