Between 1995 and 1996, a young man in his thirties from Castellón, Joaquín Ferrándiz Ventura, murdered five women: Sonia Rubio, Natalia Archelós, Mercedes Vélez, Francisca Salas and Amelia Sandra. All of them went through the same ordeal because they were raped, strangled and, in some cases, beaten with a blunt object. He was arrested, tried and sentenced to 69 years in prison in January 2000, of which he could only serve a maximum of 25, according to the law.
Joaquín Ferrándiz, who is now 59 years old, already enjoys prison permits, welcomed by a religious NGO to “prepare his release and reinsertion.” In July he will leave prison after having fully served his sentence, as he anticipated The Provinces and has confirmed this newspaper through his lawyer. In prison he has been an exemplary prisoner throughout this time, a collaborator and without any incident that has complicated his sentence.
In prison he has been an exemplary prisoner throughout this time, a collaborator and without any incident that has complicated his sentence
The Ferrándiz case generated enormous social alarm at the time, and put the Civil Guard, which was in charge of the investigation, in check. This employee of an insurance company appeared to be a normal, exemplary citizen, with a large social group of friends, but on the dark side of him was looking for women to rape and murder. Even when he was arrested there were demonstrations in favor of him.
In 1989 he had already been sentenced to 14 years in prison for sexual abuse. However, in May 1995 he obtained parole and soon after his adventures began as a serial killer who frightened Castellón with five crimes against women.
This fact generated not a little controversy, even the prosecutor in the case requested that the State be condemned as subsidiary civil liability, since the crimes had been committed while he was on probation. The sentence did not condemn the State.
The prosecutor in the case requested that the State be sentenced as vicarious civil responsibility since the crimes had been committed while he was on probation
During the oral hearing, the defendant was described as a psychopath and was diagnosed with erection problems, among other sexual pathologies. He raped his victims to humiliate them, according to the Civil Guard. Later, he killed them by suffocation or beating them “to erase evidence.” He was arrested on July 29, 1998 after another assault, this time frustrated, and which allowed his arrest thanks to the description that the victim made of him.
His first murder was that of the 25-year-old teacher Sonia Rubio, whose half-buried corpse was discovered in a rural area of Benicàssim, in November 1995, four months after her disappearance. The attacks the woman suffered, the way she was stripped naked and gagged, raised fears that her murderer was behind very similar violent deaths.
Ferrándiz himself acknowledged four more murders: that of Amelia Sandra, who disappeared —also at dawn and also after leaving a nightclub— in September 1996 and found the following year; in addition to those of the prostitutes Mercedes V., Natalia A. and Francisca S. The remains of these last three women appeared in early 1996 next to the riverbed of the Mijares river, in Vila-real.
The murderer raped some of his victims by inserting objects into them. He seemed to have a predilection for young blondes around 25 years old, he stalked them outside nightclubs and followed them in cars. On some occasion, he went so far as to deflate the tire of his future victim’s car and follow her, to offer help when the driver detected the problem.
Joaquín Ferrándiz Ventura, with a history of rape, “was not on the sex offender registry and if he was, nobody paid any attention to him,” according to the surprising statement made by one of the civil guards at the trial that took place in November 1999.
The sentence concluded that Ferrándiz used the same method to kill the five women, who voluntarily got into the condemned man’s vehicle. In all cases he tied the hands of the victims when they were unsuspecting to prevent them from resisting while he strangled them.
Regarding the psychopathy of the convicted person, the sentence indicated that when he was granted parole, “no exceptionality was detectable that could portend the extreme dangerousness that later became apparent with the commission of the facts.” And he added that it is not possible “to accept that they were wrong in line”, the psychologist, the forensics and the psychiatrist who underwent medical examinations nine years ago before granting him parole”.