surinenglish

Diana and Rocío

The tragic death of Diana Quer bears a chilling resemblance to that of Rocío Wanninkhof, the young woman from La Cala de Mijas who was murdered in 1999. The similarities do not just lie in the profiles of the girls, both 18-year-olds who one day crossed the path of a sexual predator who took their lives. There are also parallels between the two men who killed them: aggressive, liar, without emotion, egocentric... That was how the psychologists described Tony King, Rocío's killer. Officers have used similar adjectives this week for 'El Chicle', arrested for the murder of Diana.

The psychologists also stressed during King's trial that he was a repeat offender. The same could be said for José Enrique Abuin. He has been caught because he tried to repeat his crime, although fortunately this time his victim was able to escape and tell her story. Sonia Carabantes wasn't so lucky. King killed her, as he did Rocío, four years later. A murder that could have been avoided. Back then the 'Wanninkhof case' earned the (dis)credit for containing the biggest police and judicial mistake known. Dolores Vázquez had been found guilty of a murder she never committed.

There are other common factors in both cases, such as the role of the wife of 'El Chicle' and King's ex in leaving them without an alibi. It's very difficult even to try to establish how you should feel if you suspect that you live with or go out with a murderer. There's surely a prevailing desire for the truth to be otherwise.

In both cases there was interference from stories of the private lives of the victims' relatives, aired by the media as if they were taking part in a reality show. This is the time to reflect on the media's role in cases such as these. Both with Rocío Wanninkhof and Diana Quer speculation and value judgements prevailed.

Come to think of it, it's worth reflecting on why disproportionate attention is paid to this type of disappearance (teenage girls attacked by sexual predators) and not to others. There have been more than 4,000 unsolved cases of missing persons in Spain since 2010, of which 1,655 are in Andalucía, among them children and young people, according to the European Foundation for Missing Persons QSD.

Media coverage can sometimes provide clues to solve cases. Desperate families go to the media for help, but in many cases they are used to stretch out a morbid fascination and viewing figures as far as they will go. For Diana's family this has gone on for 500 days. Now they deserve to be left in peace.