ONE of the wealthiest and most prominent figures in Costa Blanca high society was shot dead by a suspected hitman in a murder that has shocked Spain.
Maria del Carmen Martinez, widow of the former CAM bank president Vicente Sala, was shot execution-style while sitting behind the wheel of her Porsche Cayenne SUV in one of her family’s Alicante car dealerships.
The assassin used a silencer to fire two shots at point blank range to her head and cheek. Martinez, 72, died instantly at around 7pm on Friday December 9, slumping outside the car where she was later found.
Neither her car, nor her luxury handbag and other easy pickings were taken, leading detectives to conclude this was a contract killing possibly linked to her family’s extensive business empire.
Madrid has offered to send a special investigative unit but Alicante has thus far preferred to handle the case locally. Authorities believe the perpetrator may have been hired outside Spain and has already left the country.
Martinez had taken over the family business after her husband’s death in 2011 but speculation is rife that the household is bitterly divided. There are well-known tensions involving her adult children, three daughters and a son.
Martinez was a highly-regarded public figure. A huge funeral the following day was attended by a who’s who of the business, social and political worlds of Valencia.