The list of nonsense and black holes in the death of Deborah Fernandez-Cervera, a young Vigo woman murdered in 2002 when she was about to turn 22, is as endless as it is strange. The instruction he prescribed last May for any new suspect that arises and is still only open to the ex-boyfriend accused in the extreme, continues to spew evidence of the cause that has been pulsating lethargically for almost two decades without targeting anyone. The bombastic name that initially gave this investigation almost always in the hands of the National Police, Operation Arcano, has been revealed time and time again to be the most accurate for investigations where the victim’s family can be said to have done almost all of the brunt. It was a company hired by Deborah’s parents who discovered in the past year that the hard drive on the girl’s computer had been formatted while in custody. Additionally, the family was able to exhume the body in the final section and hired a medical examiner who found fibers and hairs in the fingernails that had not been checked for 20 years. Now, in what lawyers say is the addiction reform work of the UDEV (Specialized Unit to Fight Violence) in Canillas (Madrid), official police documents, photographs, video tapes and a SIM-free mobile phone linked to the case have emerged Deborah.
The disappearance, on the last afternoon of April 2002, and the discovery of the young woman’s naked body in a ditch 40 kilometers from Vigo, 10 days later and with sperm artificially injected into her vagina, was an event that hit the elitists straight. social circle of the victim and of the already sole defendant P.P.S.-LL.L. The subject, now married with children, who denies involvement, already worked in his family’s frozen business, between Latin America and Vigo, where he frequented the Country Club. When Deborah Fernandez died, he spent long periods abroad and the couple fell apart. The man was never formally implicated, and the countdown to the alleged murder didn’t stop for him until, about to turn 20, the current investigating judge (there were already three magistrates) summoned him to testify as an inquest.
In the statement released by the new police chief, the victim’s family expressed their “disbelief and outrage” at this grotesque act. The official letter from the National Police unit in charge of the case, dated 5 September, reveals that “in relation to the works carried out since last year at the UDEV central offices within the Canillas Police Complex”, “a hitherto unknown file has been found which contains effects and documentation related to the investigation into the death of Deborah Fernandez-Servera Neira.
The letter sent to the Tui (Pontevedra) court in charge of the case states that “there are two transfers of both staff and documentation in the Homicide and Missing Unit” in the works. “Taking advantage of the end of the works and the return to the original location,” the official letter continued, “a process of digitization of the existing documentation has begun, therefore everything archived is being reviewed.” The lost file was recovered in “an office occupied by Homicide I, along with documentation relating to other old matters”.
“How could a mobile phone have been hidden all these years? Without a SIM card?” ask the lawyers of the Fernández-Servera Neira family. In addition, this “occurs”, they point out, just as the magistrate “rejected a request to know the chain of storage of Déborah’s computer hard drive and details of the nature of the act of collection” of the damaged internal memory of the computer. Although last spring they asked the court to open a separate investigation to clarify how the contents of the computer were deleted, the lawyers were unable to do so. “Added to this,” they also complain in their latest press release from Ramon Amoedo’s office, “is the judge’s repeated refusal to include in the court case the contents of all the police files for which there was evidence until yesterday.”
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“Faced with this new setback, the family’s lawyers will seek a discharge without ruling out legal action,” the lawyers warned. The dead girl’s parents, two sisters and brother believe that despite decades of pleading, there are still white spots and a lot of information they don’t know about the crime that shattered their lives. At the moment, they also don’t know what the now-discovered photos, videos, police documents and mobile terminal can contribute. “We don’t know if the new evidence will affect or not” the only lead still open against the ex-partner, said Rosa Fernandez-Servera, Deborah’s sister. In an official letter from the police, the agents told the judge that a former inspector general and commissioner of the case had assured that the victim’s mobile phone was not supplied by the family. It is believed to be the one now found in the Homicide Squad office.
“I am ashamed of others for the judicial system we have, if you can call it that,” the victim’s sister, who has acted as the family’s spokesperson for years, wrote in her social networks, devastated by this further stupidity in the investigation. “Is this called a guarantee system?” asks Rosa Fernandez; “We all know that Deborah is not the only one to suffer this humiliation. When you think there is no more errors they still surprise you with another thicker than the previous one”. “I feel anger, powerlessness, frustration,” he laments. “Your death, Deborita, was not in vain, and it only shows that no one else cared or cared that a murderer was roaming free and enjoying the life he stole from you.”
Hard drive is wiped, overwritten and smoking
Nothing more could happen to the hard drive of the victim’s computer if it were to destroy information. When the family – after a campaign to collect support on social networks and the discovery of new witnesses – manages to reopen the case, which has been filed for years, the parents of the victim hire the services of forensic experts, forensic experts and a well-known computer expertise company, Lazarus Technology. The firm, which worked for state security forces in cases like Diana Kuer and Marta del Castillo, discovered that someone with extensive knowledge of the matter had accessed the hard drive, deleted and overwritten information. But this was not the only misfortune suffered by the device.
During the investigation, Deborah’s mother handed over the hard drive, which remained with the police for years. When the case reopened in 2019, lawyers learned it was being held as evidence in court and requested a copy to put in Lazar’s hands. The day set by the judge to carry out the data transfer in the presence of the Civil Guard, recalls the family, “obviously at least one part was burned.”
After the incident, agents took it to try to recover the contents and returned it after several months without success. The lawyers once again demanded that it be handed over to Lazar, and the company was able to dispose of it. From there, and after the case expired, he provided a copy to the court and left another for the private examination. The result, says Rosa Fernández-Servera, is “devastating”: “The disk was tampered with, a lot of data was deleted” and there were also signs of being “overwritten”, meaning it had passed through the hands of “someone with a lot of computer skills” .
The discovery of the unknown file and the phone without a SIM card erupted the sister, who criticized the prosecution, the court and the agents responsible for this fruitless investigation. Rosa Fernandez describes a “timid and bloodless prosecutor who, instead of caring for the good, hides his head and doesn’t even bother to ask a question” during interrogations. He also refers to the magistrate, “who has been repeatedly lied to and is not even able to withstand things that have been proven and confirmed by witnesses and even by the police.” Regarding the six teams of homicide specialists involved in the investigation, the family spokesman said they avoided “collecting the necessary evidence” or that when taking the evidence “they omitted information” that was passed on to them. They were “so incompetent,” he says of the police, “that in the early years they didn’t question our family or friends.” “But they don’t even know where they keep the evidence for such a serious case,” scolds Fernandez-Servera, “and they present it 20 years later, with all its substance, when most of the case is prescribed.”