Prosecutors cannot charge suspect with murder unless the head is found
An autopsy has been carried out on the body of a Bolivian woman believed murdered and found headless. The torso, legs and arms of Maria Elena Salcedo, 53, were found scattered in a bushy area along a roadside in a case that has gripped the Mallorcan public.
Following the discovery, a 43-year-old Ecuadorean builder, who lived in the same Palma apartment block as the woman, claimed to have carried out the killing. The man told police how he had used an axe to dismember the body, but claims he had not meant to kill her following an argument and that the death was accidental. He then claimed to have severed her head and thrown it into a garbage container.
But one thing the autopsy did reveal was that the woman’s body was not cut up with an axe, as the man claimed. Instead, forensic examiners concluded that a sharp tool, such as a butcher’s knife, was the instrument used. Had an axe been used there would have been bone splintering, but examiners found only clean cuts. But without the head, there has been no way to prove how the woman was killed.
The suspect, who is being held in custody, is expected to be charged appear before a judge this week. Four other people living in the same flat as the suspect will be charged with helping to conceal a crime.
If the woman’s head is not located, prosecutors may not be able to charge the suspect with murder. Instead, the lesser charge of manslaughter will be sought.