He led those around him to believe that his wife had eloped with another in Brazil and even put a GPS bracelet on his daughter after arguing that it was in case her mother tried to take her away
“Where are you? You’re out of the house and the girls are alone with me. We don’t deserve what you’re doing to us. You abandoned us.” It could be the message of a heartbroken husband worried about the whereabouts of his wife who has left the family home.
It may be so. And he actually intended it to look like one. But it is not.
This is the message that the acknowledged author of the death of Deborah Morais Dos Santos (39 years old) sent to his wife’s mobile phone two days after he killed her. They were the first steps in creating a cut that I thought was perfect. He kept her for six months, during which he resisted the pressure from his environment and from the victim’s family, who live in Brazil. Until Homicide agents, after five hours of questioning, tore her apart and made her confess to the crime and where she was buried.
The suspect is a 40-year-old businessman from Malaga who owns a warehouse on Atajate street, in the La Estrella industrial area, in the capital. He met Deborah years ago and they got married. They have two daughters aged 5 and 17. They lived in an apartment in Theatinos.
The first antecedent in their history as a couple leads to 2012, when she accused him of gender-based violence, although she later recanted and did not confirm the accusation in court.
Most recently, in 2021, she was treated in hospital for injuries consistent with another assault. The medical center activated the protocol for a possible episode of gender-based violence and brought the facts to the attention of the court, although there was no cooperation from the victim.
The relationship had deteriorated in recent months and was already in the process of separation. In January, they went together to the school where one of the girls studied, and in the interview with the teacher, they realized that they were having problems. Deborah wanted a divorce. Apparently in March, days before her disappearance, she suffered an anxiety attack and told a doctor she wanted to end her marriage, but her husband refused.
The chronology of the case goes back to March 28, the date Deborah was lost. Two days later, her husband sends her a WhatsApp message on her mobile phone, scolding her for abandoning them, but she does not go to the police station to report her disappearance. He only tells his entourage that he found her car by the subway entrance. And that he took his papers and those of his daughters with him to reinforce the version that Deborah had left voluntarily and that she would show up at any moment to pick up the minors.
On April 6, the confessed perpetrator of the crime went to the girls’ school accompanied by his mother and said that his wife had gone with another man to Brazil, where he is from. He even showed him a WhatsApp message that tried to back up that story, according to sources close to the case. That same day she went to the police station and even sought legal advice to report Deborah for abandoning her family.
In fact, she even put a GPS bracelet on her young daughter and told the school that she took this measure because she was afraid she would come back and take her daughters.
Officially, the complaint about the disappearance of Débora Morais Dos Santos dates back to April 15. He does not appear in Malaga, but in Palma de Mallorca, where a friend of Deborah lives, who goes to the nearest police station, driven by the concern of the victim’s family, who live in Brazil and who are worried that they do not know anything about her.
This complaint was echoed in early May by the SOS Disappeared association, which released a poster with Débora’s physical description and photo, and the QSD Global foundation. The search is included on the website of the National Center for the Missing.
But there was almost no media pressure, because the little family that Deborah has is in Brazil, and her environment in Spain believed the story that her husband had designed, apparently without cracks.
The National Police Homicide Squad classifies this disappearance as “disturbing”. It was also for Deborah’s friends and family, who couldn’t believe she had left without a trace and without taking her daughters. One of them even wrote several messages with the confessed author of the crime, who maintained his version that he was with someone else and left voluntarily.
The police quietly piled up the investigation. In addition to accumulating testimony, Homicide agents requested triangulation of the phones, and the results began to reveal the first contradictions in the husband’s alibi. They began to suspect him.
He was called this Friday, September 23rd. The two best interrogators in the group talked to him for over five hours. After softening him up, they cornered him with evidence and coaxed a confession out of him.
The detainee said that on March 28, an argument started at the family’s home and she announced that she was leaving her home. In the argument, he said, Deborah threatened to report him for abuse. He was afraid she would stay with the girls. And in an “outburst,” he said, he strangled her.
We were about to find out what he did with the body after that. Apparently he went to buy some materials, put them in a box and took them to a warehouse he owned in the La Estrella industrial area. There, he allegedly dug up the ground until he made a hole and placed the body in large black plastic bags, which he later wrapped in blankets. Next to the body he placed Deborah’s papers and those of her daughters, already thinking about the alibi he was creating, and plugged that hole with cement. Finally, he placed heavy machinery in this place.
It took the police hours to reach her. They even had to notify the firefighters to assist in the rescue of the body, which continued until dawn. Deborah’s remains were transferred to the hospital for X-rays and also to the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) in Malaga for an autopsy, whose preliminary report coincides with the confession of the detainees: death by strangulation.
That night, after hours and hours of work, the police removed Deborah from where she was buried, at least to do justice.