Police confirm DNA from body found is that of missing teen Diana Quer
Chief suspect in case, arrested for assaulting another woman, is being held in custody without bail
The suspect in the death of Diana Quer, a teenager from Madrid who had been missing since August 2016, has been transferred to a prison in the Galician municipality of Teixeiro while the inquiry proceeds.
On Tuesday, the Civil Guard said DNA tests have confirmed that the body located on December 31 is that of the missing teen.
José Enrique Abuín, also known as el Chicle or el Chiqui, was arrested on December 29 along with his partner for assaulting another young woman the previous Monday. The physical description provided by the victim led investigators to Abuín, who had already been a prime suspect in the Diana Quer case but who had been released for lack of evidence.
Despite an intense police effort to find Quer, who went missing on August 22, 2016 after attending the local fiestas in A Pobra do Caramiñal, the Galician village where her family owns a summer home, the case had been shelved in April of this year.
Following his arrest over the recent assault, the suspect was again interrogated about Diana Quer but initially denied any involvement in her disappearance. He later retracted that assertion when his partner admitted that Abuín had been out by himself that night rather than with her, as she had initially claimed.
Abuín later led the Civil Guard to the spot where the body was located, inside a well at the site of an abandoned warehouse in Rianxo, five kilometers from the spot where Diana Quer’s cellphone stopped emitting signals.
The suspect told investigators that he saw Quer walking by herself on the night of August 22, 2016 and tried to rape her, but the young woman fought back and he then strangled her.
But his lawyer has told the court that his client – who refused to answer questions before being taken into preventive custody on Monday – has not in fact confessed to any crimes, including homicide or sexual aggression.
Instead, José Ramón Sierra portrayed Abuín as someone who has “collaborated” with the justice system by indicating the location of the body in order to “mitigate” the family’s suffering. The defense’s strategy will likely be based on Abuín’s first statement, claiming that he accidentally hit Quer with his car.
Abuín is being investigated for at least four crimes, said the Galician regional High Court, including illegal detention, and attempted robbery using violence and intimidation, in connection with the second victim.
The suspect has a criminal record for reckless driving and drug trafficking. He was denied bail after being considered a flight risk and likely to destroy evidence that might connect him to the case.
Juan Carlos Quer, Diana,’s father, has asked the justice system to do everything possible to ensure that Abuín pays for his crime if he is found guilty.
“Let this man answer for the death of a person who was in the prime of life,” he said.