By Humphrey Carter

THE prime, and currently only, suspect in the case of murdered Ana Niculai whose charred body was found with her hands tied behind her back in her boyfriend's burnt out Audi A4 in Muro last Monday night, finally decided to make a statement the day before yesterday after having been arrested earlier in the day, but denied having kidnapped and killed the 25-year-old victim and having set the vehicle in which she was found alight.

Central government delegate Ramon Socias and police sources clearly stated on Monday that their suspect, Alejandro de Abarca, was going to be hard to breakdown and get information from but stressed that they were confident of having collected sufficient physical evidence to prove that they had finally located and arrested the right man after a week long man hunt for the fugitive prisoner who is currently serving a ten year and five month sentence for seven robberies.

When found by the Guardia Civil, and having initially tried to run away, he denied having murdered anyone and claimed that he was a Catalan hiker on holiday.

He even told the arresting officers that his name was Ruben Rose de San Pere and that was all he said until later on Monday night.
De Abarca has served nine years of his sentence which is why he has been classified as a third grade prisoner and therefore entitled to weekend releases to attend social rehabilitation sessions.

However, last Monday the day Ana was kidnapped in an underground car park in Palma, before going to work at a bar she ran in Calle Socorro, and later killed, he failed to return to prison and spent the week on the run.

During the week, he was spotted on a handful of occasions, once when he stopped to offer his help to a female motorcyclist whose vehicle had broken down.

Fortunately, she recognised him from the pictures distributed to the media and fled the scene.
However, it was a group of residents in the village of Buger who finally guided police to the fugitive after reporting various sightings of the 35-year-old in the area on Sunday night.

The Guardia Civil finally found him hiding in a gully near the Selva sewage plant at 7.30 the following day.
This morning De Abarca is expected to appear before a remand hearing at the Inca courthouse with the security services hoping their suspect will be more cooperative.

Yesterday, as investigators continued their search for conclusive physical evidence, forensics took biological samples from the suspect. These are going to be sent to Barcelona for examination in an attempt to ascertain if Ana Niculai was abused by De Abarca in any way.

Such was the state of the victim's charred body no clues as to what happened to her prior to being found in the burning vehicle, which she had borrowed from her boyfriend while hers was being repaired, have been recovered by forensics.

However, as reported last week, the autopsy revealed that she was already dead before being locked in the boot of the car which was later set alight.
There were no signs of fume asphyxiation as being the cause of death.


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