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Jurado Montilla pictured by SUR offices in 2013. F. González
Serial killer from 80s detained over 2022 death on the Costa del Sol after detailed family tree search
Crime

Serial killer from 80s detained over 2022 death on the Costa del Sol after detailed family tree search

A creative and laborious police inquiry has led to José Jurado Montilla being held for a crime in Malaga after he gave away his location on TikTok

Juan Cano

Malaga

Friday, 24 May 2024, 12:39

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The unsolved murder of a 21-year-old local student in 2022 while he was out alone on an August evening at his family's land in Los Montes de Málaga natural park made headline news. David, who had no enemies, was killed by a hunting gun, investigators said.

On the face of it, the crime was extremely hard to solve, given the isolated location and no witnesses. The only clue was WhatsApp messages to family and friends back in Malaga city earlier the same evening from David on the farm, before contact was lost, saying he had given water to a "rough-looking" stranger. His mobile phone was never found.

It remained a mystery to the public until 16 May this year, when 63-year-old José Jurado Montilla, who has the aliases El Titi and Dinamita Montilla, was taken by surprise by detectives in a bar in a village close to the Portuguese border in Extremadura. Behind the scenes, a major piece of detective work had been under way that led them to link Jurado Montilla to the killing of David, a story that can now be told.

Unidentified DNA had been found on the boy's rucksack. Forensic police were able to obtain a percentage match to somebody already on their database via the parental line - a person related to the owner of the DNA. The match's current surname had changed after birth from the surname Jurado, they soon found out, forcing a change of tack.

Church baptismal records

A huge, detailed family-tree search of Jurados began, stretching back to 1873 and only possible with the help of historic church baptismal records held by the Bishop of Malaga.

Eventually, the name of one of the living relatives traced, José Jurado Montilla, sent a shudder down investigators' spines when they searched for the name on the internet.

The search results revealed an old interview with a man of the same name published in 2013 in Diario SUR, sister paper to SUR in English.

José Jurado Montilla was a serial killer - infamous in Malaga for four rural killings between 1985 and 1987, including two tourists - a German and a Briton - out near the present-day Caminito del Rey. He had served 28 years of a 123 year prison term and was released in 2013 due to a change in European law.

In his interview in Diario SUR, he had spoken of how only one of the four 1980s crimes he had committed and protested his innocence. Over the years he has been investigated for a range of crimes such as homicide, robbery and illegal possession of weapons.

Since his release, Jurado Montilla had lived an itinerant life around Spain, sources said, but had cultivated an interest in social media, frequently publishing his whereabouts. Lately in particular he used Tik Tok.

Social media trap

Once realising the link to the suspect, police did not find it too hard tracking him down as he was posting from his current location - Valdebótoa, in the province of Badajoz and five kilometres from Portugal. Police moved quickly and in a plain-clothes operation, the alleged murderer of David was arrested on 16 May and appeared in court to be denied bail last Sunday.

For the officers handling the 2022 case, the motive of the murder was to seize David's belongings. David had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the fateful August night, loss of contact led his relatives to go to the beauty spot where they thought the young man might be. The next day, in a search of the area, they first located David's car. Later, their worst fears were realised when they found his body.

As of this month, a suspect is in jail thanks to the creative and laborious work of National Police investigators.

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