In June 2001, Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra traveled to China from their home in northern Spain to adopt a baby girl. Some 12 years later, authorities say, the couple—described variously as model parents and "two of the most selfish people I have met"—drugged and smothered her, leaving her body on the side of a rural road. Writing at length in the Guardian, Giles Tremlett explores the circumstances that led up to the murder of 12-year-old Asunta Fong Yang Basterra Porto. Ostensibly, Porto and Basterra had the makings of great parents: She was a lawyer, he a freelance journalist. There was a loving extended family, and an ample apartment in their city's "VIP zone." Asunta was a gifted student who skipped an academic year and excelled at extracurriculars. The nanny described them as an "idyllic family."
But Porto's self esteem was "brittle," Tremlett writes, and she suffered "occasional tailspins into acute anxiety and depression." Basterra, meanwhile, was perceived alternately as "mousey" and "dominated" or "haughty" and "disdainful." A "black period" befell the family when Porto's mother and father died months apart. Having tired of her "underachieving 'house-husband,'" Porto took a lover; they divorced in 2013. He got an apartment nearby, still cooking the family meals and hanging onto the hope that he and Porto would reconcile. In September 2013, two men found Asunta's body on the side of a rural road. Investigators, Tremlett writes, say the couple "had grown tired of the girl they had 'bought,'" and had carefully planned the murder to rid themselves of her. Both were sentenced to 18 years in prison; both are appealing. The whole tragic story is here.