New evidence that father may have killed his children

Thu, Aug 30, 2012, 01:00

NEW FORENSIC evidence has cast further suspicion on a man whom investigators believe murdered his two small children nearly a year ago in an act of revenge against his partner for leaving him.

In what has become the most notorious and high-profile case of its kind in Spain, José Bretón is suspected of killing his two-year-old son José and his six-year-old daughter Ruth in October 2011.

Mr Bretón maintains his innocence and says he lost both children, whose bodies have not been found, while they were playing in a park in the southern province of Córdoba.

On Monday, however, investigators said that new independent forensic studies showed that bones found at a house in the countryside, which Mr Bretón has admitted he visited with his son and daughter on the day of their disappearance, belonged to two small children, not to animals as police scientists had previously believed.

The bones had been burned at an extremely high temperature.

Police are now hoping to find more evidence at the site.

Mr Bretón was arrested two weeks after the children disappeared and has been in prison since. On Tuesday, he was taken to the property, belonging to his parents, where the bones were found, to answer questions put by an investigating judge.

Mr Bretón is separated from the mother of the children, Ruth Ortiz, who says he carried out the murders as a reprisal after she told him she wanted to end their relationship. She says the new evidence proves the children were murdered.

The police officer leading the investigation, Serafín Castro, said he agreed with Ms Ortiz’s “revenge” theory, in a television interview aired on Tuesday.

Ms Ortiz has been closely involved in organising marches in tribute to the children and calling for the case to be solved. She also hired the independent forensic experts whose new findings have contradicted those of the police.

Mr Bretón’s lawyer, José María Sánchez de Puerta, told reporters that despite the latest findings, his client “does not admit his guilt” and “he believes it is madness to think that he burnt his children”.

The initial failure of police investigators to correctly identify the burnt bones as human appears to have delayed the solving of the case by nearly a year.

José Manuel Sánchez Fornet, the head of the SUP police union, said this was “a terrible mistake” and that the procedure for identifying bones in these kinds of investigations should be overhauled.