‘The Asunta Case’ Ending Explained: Why Did Rosario Kill Asunta, According To Netflix’s Series?


Everything we need or want to know about Asunta Basterra’s murder case is already out in the open. The Spanish media rigorously covered the mysterious murder of a 12-year-old girl, and the general public followed every inch of it to form their own opinions even before the accused mother and the father went to trial. So, the question here is: why do we have Netflix’s drama series releasing 11 years after the trial ended when the culprits are already behind bars and one of them is already dead? I guess The Asunta Case‘ creators, just like every other conspiracy theorist in the world, want to push forward their own speculations because the real-life trial was a total mess for various reasons, which we have already discussed in the recap of the fictional series. Additionally, neither the police nor the jury ever found out the “motive” behind the murder. In any murder case, motive is the foundation of the crime, which eventually helps the investigators get into the psyche of the murderers, but in Asunta Basterra’s case, we never found any. That’s probably the reason why this series was created. So, instead of torturing you with the factual details of the case, I would like to explore the motive behind the murder, which had been briefly discussed by the creators themselves in the fourth episode of The Asunta Case.

Spoiler Alert

Why Did Rosario Porto kill Asunta?

I’ll strictly keep my speculation as per the facts presented in Netflix’s The Asunta Case so as not to mess it up like the real-life trial. So according to the autopsy report, the forensic team found traces of lorazepam in Asunta’s dead body. Lorazepam is a doctor prescribed medication for treating anxiety disorders and insomnia. The autopsy report suggested that Asunta was being administered small doses of lorazepam for the past 3 months. Now, it was exactly 3 months before Asunta’s death, i.e., on July 4, 2013, when Rosario’s friend, Pilar Araujo, confirmed an attack on Asunta while she was sleeping in her room in her mother’s house in Montouto. What was suspicious is the fact that Rosario never reported the incident but later confirmed in her testimony that a man broke into their house to steal money. Contrary to the statement, her neighbor, Mrs. Virginia Cabaleiro, who lived downstairs, revealed that no one entered the building that day; otherwise, her two very loud dogs would have barked their lungs out. Additionally, the father, Alfonso Basterra, testified that he wasn’t in Montouto when the incident took place, leading us in only one direction: Rosario tried to suffocate her daughter on July 4. 

As per The Asunta Case series, Rosario and Alfonso filed for divorce and got legally separated in February, a month after the husband found out about his wife’s extramarital affair with a married man named Vicente Dozon. Four months after the divorce, i.e., June 2013, Rosario saw her lover once again in a hotel room to give him the good news. But it turned out that Vicente had no plans to leave his pregnant wife, thereby clearly stating that his relationship with Rosario was completely causal. Vicente’s last words pierced Rosario’s feeble heart and traumatized her soul to the core. Soon after the incident, Rosario’s mental stability worsened, and she was hospitalized in a neurology department on June 26. She was later discharged on July 1, three days before the mysterious man supposedly broke into her house. It was no secret that Rosario was not only mentally ill but also suicidal since the age of 18 and had been in and out of mental health facilities 3 times in her life. But why punish her daughter for her own demons? Maybe Rosario believed that Asunta wouldn’t be taken care of properly after her death and therefore wanted to kill her daughter before she herself left the world.

Some three months later, i.e., on September 20, two days before Asunta’s death, Rosario went to meet her lover again. She came back to Montouto when Alfonso confronted her about her secret meeting, which triggered Rosario. In the heat of the moment, Alfonso pointed out that they have a daughter to take care of and Asunta binds them together. Perhaps that gave Rosario the idea that she might never be able to separate herself from Alfonso until Asunta was gone.

As per The Asunta Case episode 4, Rosario tried to kill herself on that day by mixing a huge dose of lorazepam into her orange juice, which she gave to her daughter, and therefore decided to kill Asunta to cover up her mistake. I guess it was a pretty bad execution of the scene because her actions didn’t seem organic. In my opinion, she might have made the drink to kill Asunta (and herself) but later freaked out. She tried to remove the body from the farmhouse in Teo and left it on the road, unable to think of anything else. The evidence further collected by the police and Rosario’s contradictory statements suggested the same.

Did Alfonso kill Asunta?

Another theory suggested that Alfonso was a vicious father who had been sexually abusing his daughter by drugging her. However, some three months later, Alfonso got paranoid and believed that Asunta was going to expose him to her friends or teacher, which was when he decided to murder her to bury the truth. It was quite a vague theory to begin with because it didn’t clearly define Rosario’s role and motive to protect Alfonso in the entire ordeal. If we assume for a moment that Alfonso had been sexually assaulting his daughter, then it might be possible that Rosario killed her daughter to protect her from the abuse, as she didn’t have the courage to report the crime. But I am not satisfied with this theory. I still believe it was Rosario who had been drugging her daughter and accidentally (or not) killed her on September 21 because she herself wasn’t in the right mindset. Alfonso, however, refused to believe that his ex-wife could have done something like that, which was why he endorsed her innocence until the very end of it. Or maybe he did it for the money, as Alfonso married Rosario just for his financial gains, as Rosario came from a rich family, and that was the reason why Alfonso stuck around even after their divorce. Furthermore, it could be speculated that Alfonso might have helped Rosario to hide the murder therefore indirectly became an accomplice to the crime.

Rosario, on the other hand, tried to badmouth her husband in front of the investigators from time to time. She even indirectly accused Alfonso of harboring sexual intentions towards their daughter while they were locked up in cells close to each other. Rosario was already aware that they were being recorded, and that was most likely the reason why she dropped such information to influence the investigation. However, this particular piece of evidence was banned from the court as it was deemed to be unauthorized. But it did find its way into the media, which played it constantly to create a narrative in the minds of the general public.

Why Did the Jury Hold Alfonso and Rosario Responsible for the Murder?

By the time The Asunta Case reached provincial court proceedings in October, the investigation judge, Luis Malvar, had leaked much of the confidential information to the press. In the aftermath of his actions, the public and the jury already created an opinion about the parents and declared them the culprits even before they were presented before the jury. In simple words, the case was doomed from the very beginning, and nothing could have saved it. 

At the end of the trial, the public prosecutor brought in an important eyewitness, Laura Prieto Iglesias, who knew Asunta from her French class at Alianza Francesa. Laura testified that she saw Asunta with her father, Alfonso, on the day of her disappearance, somewhere between 5:30 and 7 p.m. on September 21st. Alfonso, on the other hand, stated that he didn’t see his daughter after they had lunch together. Even the footage obtained from the traffic cam established the fact that Asunta was with her mother in the car when Laura thought she saw her in the street with her father. And as per the autopsy report, she was heavily drugged at this time but Laura didn’t notice any sign of it. So Laura’s entire testimony had too many flaws in it, and the police didn’t bother to investigate it further because it served their purpose. They wanted to prove that Alfonso helped Rosario murder their daughter.

Rosario’s lawyer, Juan Jose Dominguez, tried his best to highlight the loopholes in the police investigation and how much of the evidence was outrageously nonsensical. But at the end of the day, his entire effort was futile. Most of the jury members had heard the parents’ leaked recording from the cell, which convinced many that Alfonso was a pedophile and Rosario was his accomplice. It was the only thing that clouded their judgment when they announced their verdict in the end. Alfonso’s lawyer, Elena Garrido, knew that her client had been hiding something as he talked to Rosario for at least an hour on the day Asunta disappeared. His testimony could have changed the course of the trial, but Alfonso decided to remain silent and protected his ex-wife till the very end.

In The Asunta Case’s ending, the jury found both Alfonso and Rosario guilty of murdering their daughter. Both were given a sentence of 18 years in prison. The parents later appealed the judgment in the High Court and Supreme Court, but both courts ratified the sentence. Rosario, who had already tried to kill herself in the past, decided to end her life in prison. After a few failed attempts, she finally committed suicide in Brieva Prison on November 18, 2020. Alfonso, on the other hand, still maintains his innocence and is serving time in prison to prove the same. He will be released in 2031.

Final Words

The question one may want to ask in the end is: was it a fair trial at all? Due to the leaks in the media, the newspapers had set a narrative that most people believed in. The media posted misleading pictures of Asunta along with Alfonso’s browser history to brand him as a pervert. News channels played altered audio tracks of their prison cell conversation to influence the minds of the general public, because of which the justice system itself couldn’t do much for the parents. A lot of the evidence and testimonies contradict each other, yet the judge and the jury focused on a single fact: Asunta was an adopted child. Everyone believed that Alfonso and Rosario could have done it because Asunta wasn’t their own child, and that became the basis of their judgment.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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