“Since that day I have felt extremely deep pain, more than anyone can imagine.” The mother of Leo, the two-year-old boy murdered in Barcelona on August 25, recounts the hell he has lived since that day, when his ex-husband and father of the little boy, from whom he had recently separated, took him to the Hotel Concòrdia to spend the night and never gave it to him again. The woman wanted to make her words public three weeks later through a letter to which elDiario.es has had access in which she thanks “the support” and the “human warmth” she has felt.
“Causing death in life”: five keys to understanding vicarious violence
The man, who would have sent threatening messages warning him that he would “regret” the separation, is the main suspect in the crime and has been in search and capture ever since. Investigators lost him at the airport, but from the beginning ruled out his leaving the country with his passport and have asked for citizen collaboration to find him. “I will not give up until I do justice for my son and myself, I will endure until the end. I fully trust justice to find the murderer of my son wherever he is and to be able to follow the judicial process and do my mourning,” says the mother.
In the letter he is grateful for the many expressions of support he has received. Despite the damage – all families will be able to understand the immense love for a child and the terribleness of his loss “, she affirms -, she has also felt” the human warmth and involvement “and has been supported by” multiple people, professionals and institutions “. He also thanks those who have collaborated in the search and” in all the support that contributes to my emotional state “, also to those who have sent” messages of affection “and especially” to all those mothers who have also suffered the immense pain of vicarious violence “.
He will join them and his fight, he assures, “when he regains strength” with the aim of “achieving a more just world in which women and children can also live in peace and freedom.” The investigation is under summary secrecy, but the crime could be confirmed as a case of these characteristics. Vicarious violence is that carried out by the aggressors in a context of sexist violence against the sons and daughters of the victims with the aim of multiplying the damage and whose most extreme expression is murder.
The aggressors use it in different ways, explain the experts consulted. The range of actions that encompass it is wide and includes manipulating the children, harassing and insulting the mother or her family in front of them, not complying with visits or neglecting them. Exercising physical violence against them or even murdering them is the most extreme step, its most brutal expression, as happened in the case of José Bretón, which was a before and after. Also with 38 other minors since 2013, whose parents ended their lives in contexts of gender violence. It was the case of the daughters of Itziar Prats, murdered in Castellón in 2018 or the daughter of Ángela González Carreño, who took her case to the UN and obtained a sentence against Spain for not protecting her from the aggressor. “I’m going to give you where it hurts the most,” many of them threatened.
Leo’s mother also asks citizens for “the utmost respect for the investigation” and also to protect her integrity, since she is “in a complex security situation” given the characteristics of the case. “When I can, I will attend to all the necessary questions, but now I need a space for myself,” he says.