2018.01.07 15:05 masiakasaurus Human jaw found in reservoir may be connected to the Aguilar de Campoo girls, missing since 1992
14-year-old Virginia borrowed money from her mother to buy a cake, because she had to go to a birthday party in her hometown, Aguilar de Campoo (Palencia province, Spain). It was 23 April 1992. But rather than staying in the town, Virginia and her friend Manuela, 13, took a train and went partying in Reinosa [another town a half hour drive away]. They didn't tell their families. Later, they were seen hitchhiking to return home. And then they were never seen again.The remain(s?) was likely uncovered by this autumm's drought that also revealed the remains of a village flooded when the reservoir was built in the 60s: https://elpais.com/cultura/2017/08/30/actualidad/1504095260_530421.html
Now, 25 years later, a jaw found in the Ebro reservoir [next to Reinosa] by a neighbor last October may cast some light on the fate of the girls. It belongs to a teenager that passed away 25 years ago, according to the Instituto Anatómico Forense. The date matches, but there is no other link. DNA testing will determine if it belongs to one of the girls.
Virginia and Manuela were in the disco Cocos and later in the Parque de los Jardines de Cupido, in the pubs quarter of Reinosa. The last person claiming to see them is a woman from Aguilar de Campoo: she said the girls were hitchhiking near the Cuétara cookie factory in Reinosa. They wanted to come back home hitchhiking, a common method at the time. The woman could not take them because her car was full. It was around 21:00. Neither Manuela nor Virginia came back home but it is evident they wanted to.
The 'Alcasser Case' of Palencia
Girls Virginia Guerrero and Manuela Torres disappeared in 1992 after hitchhiking
"Why, are there news about that girl?", asks a neighbor after being asked for the home of Trinidad Espejo. Everyone in Aguilar de Campoo (Palencia) knows that 'La Trini' is the mother of Virginia Guerrero Espejo, 15, who went missing over 14 years ago along with her friend Manuela Torres Bouggefa, 16 [sic]. Since then, there has not been trace of them. As if the earth swallowed them. It was 1992, barely seven months before the disappearance of Miriam García, Antonia Gómez and Desirée Hernández, the so-called Girls of Alcàsser (Valencia). The bodies of the three adolescents were found at the end of January 1993 in a mountain of Tous, where they had been buried by Miguel Ricart and Antonio Anglés, fugitive from justice since he escaped around that time from Portugal by stowing away in a merchant ship.
All her friends agree that La Trini never talks about her daughter and that she will not do it 14 years after "that".
Virginia and Manuela were inseparable friends. They passed many hours of the day together. And many nights. The first one slept in the home of Manuela, according to a woman of Aguilar de Campoo who assures us that she knew the girls "since their birth."
Virginia belonged to a family of four siblings (two daughters and two sons, one of whom is now a priest). Neither her nor her friend Manuela were good students. "Those girls liked partying a lot", remembers a woman who plays cards daily with Trinidad in the retirees meeting place, a stone throw away from Saint Michael's Collegiate Church, one of the historical monuments in romanesque Aguilar de Campoo (7500 inhabitants).
Most misterious disappearances have women's names. And that year was harsher than usual. Because 1992 was not just the year in which the two Aguilar de Campoo girls and the three Alcàsser girls disappeared, but also 17-year-old Gloria Martínez, who disappeared without a trace in October 29 from a psychiatric clinic in Alfàs del Pi (Alicante).
But the disappearances, especially those of young adults and adolescents, never worried the Police and Civil Guard much. "They probably left home for a few days. They'll come back when they are hungry and have run out of money", it was the little assuring explanation that some insensitive agents used to give to worried parents. Only the terrible impact on society that the Alcàsser case had, fueled and enlarged by the TV program "Quién sabe dónde", made the Ministry of the Interior take the matter seriously. Since then, the Judicial Police's General Commissariat has an unit that centralizes and actualizes the data of the thousands of disappearances that are reported in Spain.
The afternoon of 23 April 1992, Virginia and Manuela decided to go dancing in the disco El Jardín de Cupido, in Reinosa (Cantabria). Hours later, someone saw them hitchhiking with the intention to return to Aguilar de Campoo. Someone said that they had seen a white car stopping before them. But time passed and the girls did not return home. Since then, the Palencia Civil Guard has not received the smallest clue about both youths. It has chased that white car without success. It has investigated in France, where Manuela's father worked as security in a shopping mall, but without success. The agents talked to inhabitants of the area where the girls were last seen, but nobody could give information that could reveal what happened to them. Nothing.
Trinidad Espejo, who lives a stone throw away from the Civil Guard barracks in Aguilar, doesn't wish to talk with journalists about the disappearance of her daughter and friend Manuela. "I'm fed up. I don't trust you since the papers published that two skulls found in the Requejada reservoir were Virginia and Manuela's", she says with anger. She means two human skulls that were found in October 2001 next to one of the pillars in the Palentine reservoir. The analysis of the Instituto de Toxicología determined that those exposed bones dated back to the Civil War.
Trinidad goes every afternoon, with exact punctuality, to play cards in the retiree's home. "Wait for her here. She's always at a quarter to six", confides one of her friends, although all of them coincide that La Trini never talks of her daughter and that she won't do it 14 years after "that".
The woman, indeed, enters the meeting place at a quarter to six. "I'm certain that my daughter is alive", is the only thing she states again and again when she is asked. But did she have some call, some letter, or any news that makes her held on to this hope? "No, I never knew of her again. But to me Virginia is alive until somebody brings me her body," she says before requesting to be left alone.
The Palentine lawyers Luis Antonio Calvo and Margarita Calle, speaking for the feminist collective Clara Campoamor, have kept the case open as much as they could. "But all possibilities to find them and all the investigative lines have been without results, so the court of Cervera de Pisuerga has ordered the provisional closure of the case", Calvo states. He, who has not been in contact with the families of the affected in the past two years, admits that "the case has a very bad look."
The Civil Guard, as is usual in this agency, maintains that no case is relegated to oblivion. But it must admit the evidence that it lacks any clue useful to resolve where Virginia and Manuela are. Alive... or dead.
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