FEARS of Costa Blanca serial or copycat killer grow as fourth woman found strangled
The lifeless body of a 41-year-old Colombian woman was found strangled in scrubland near the Clot de la Mare de Deu in the province of Castellon on Thursday morning, April 22, making it the fourth suspected female murder victim in the Valencian Community in just five months. All four victims were strangled and left in ditches for passers-by to find, leading to a social media frenzy over speculation that a serial killer might be operating in the area.
Police on Spain’s Costa Blanca have dismissed rumours circulating on WhatsApp that they are investigating a suspected serial killer, branding the claims as unsubstantiated hoaxes. Although all of the victims are women, have been killed in the same way and their bodies have been left in similar surroundings, officials claim that the difference in ages and circumstances could point to several different killers.
The first victim was discovered on the evening of November 6, just 200 metres from her home in the hamlet of La Hoya in Elche. There were no signs of sexual assault, but witnesses said they saw a man wearing a tracksuit and walking with a slight limp around the time she disappeared. The second and third victims differ in their profiles, but both were strangled and their bodies were left in similar locations.
On January 30, 2021, a hunter discovered the body of 19 year old Florina Gogos in a ditch in Silla. The Romanian prostitute, who had been strangled to death, was last seen getting into a car with a supposed client. Olga Pardo, 43, was found by a farmer on April 6 in a ditch in the Valencian district of Massarronjos. She had also been strangled.
The Castellon Guardia Civil Homicide Group has now taken over the investigation into the death of the latest victim, Andrea JA.
While officials say they are not looking for a serial killer, an expert believes it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a copycat could be in operating in the community. Given the high profile nature of the murders and the amount of details released to the media, it wouldn’t be too difficult for a stranger to emulate the crimes, Paz Velasco, a criminologist and professor at the International University of Valencia (VIU) told Spanish daily Las Provincias.
According to Mr Velasco, while the crimes could have been committed by different people, “there are more possibilities that they would have imitated the method of killing and the place of abandonment of the corpse.
“The mass media reiterate and give data that are heard and read by thousands of people. All this information about crimes can generate violent behaviour, but it does not turn a person into a murderer,” he added.
On the other hand, the criminologist pointed out, the media “can give the last push to subjects who already have a prior motivation or have imagined themselves committing a crime.”