Five chilling details about Asunta Fong Yang's murder explored

The Asunta Case
A still from The Asunta Case (Image via Netflix)

The 2013 murder case of the Chinese-born Spanish girl Asunta Fong Yang is the center of the latest Netflix true crime drama The Asunta Case. The six-part investigative thriller chronicles Operación Nenúfar or Operation Water Lily, which led to the conviction of Asunta's adoptive parents, Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra, in 2015.

The Asunta Case features Candela Peña and Tristán Ulloa in leading roles while Iris Wu takes on the role of the 12-year-old Asian who was found dead next to a Spanish countryside road.

The official synopsis of the Netflix drama, which was released on April 26, 2024, reads:

"Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra report their adopted daughter, Asunta, as missing, but the investigation soon turns against them."

Let us take a look at five details from Asunta Fong Yang's murder case.


Five chilling details about Asunta Fong Yang's murder explored

1) Asunta Fong Yang was adopted by Alfonso Basterra Camporro and Maria del Rosario Porto Ortega from China

Alfonso Basterra Camporro and Maria del Rosario Porto Ortega belonged to the wealthy upper middle class of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Porto was a lawyer while Basterra was a freelance journalist, as per the Guardian. Porto had been suffering from Lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease, which made her pregnancy a risk.

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In 2001, Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra flew down to China to adopt their child from the Guiyang Welfare Institute—a one-month-old Asunta Fong Yang from Yongzhou, Hunan, China. The couple was promising in terms of prospects and their ability to offer their child a bright future. Porto's parents gifted their daughter an entire four-story apartment where the couple lived.

Rosario Porto's father was an honorary consul for France in Santiago and her mother was a university lecturer in the history of art. Basterra's family hailed from the Basque city of Bilbao.


2) Asunta was thought to be a gifted child

While Asunta Fong Yang had taken her adoptive parents' surname, she displayed talents that reportedly made her parents proud. She skipped an entire academic year in secondary school. She would take private classes in four different languages and would also be tutored in ballet, violin, and piano.

According to The Guardian, she functioned on tight schedules and spent time with her nanny and cleaner, Carmen González, and her godmother, María Isabel Veliz.


3) Rosario Porto had a history of mental illnesses

Rosario Porto reportedly had a long-standing history of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, according to The Manchester Evening News. She had been on Orfidal and had also spent time at a private psychiatric hospital in 2009.

Candela Peña as Rosario Porto in The Asunta Case (Image via Netflix)
Candela Peña as Rosario Porto in The Asunta Case (Image via Netflix)

Even though Basterra and Porto were considered to be model parents, Porto referred to Asunta as a "bother" to her psychiatrist. Additionally, Rosario had suffered bouts of anxiety and depression during her time as an Erasmus scholar in Oxford.

According to The Guardian, she had posted her CV online with work experience referring to the London High School of Law—an institution that was found to be non-existent.


4) Asunta was found dead on September 22, 2013

The 12-year-old Asunta Fong Yang was found dead by two young men next to a countryside road in San Simón de Ons of Cacheiras around the early hours of September 22, 2013, as per Radio Times. The location was approximately five kilometers away from Rosario Porto's county home in Teo.

A still from The Asunta Case (Image via Netflix)
A still from The Asunta Case (Image via Netflix)

Asunta had a wet stain around her loins, which matched Basterra's DNA profile, and some bloodied mucus near her nose, as reported by The Guardian. The autopsy reports determined that she had been dozed with 27 powdered pills of Orfidal—some of which had been procured by Basterra illegally.

Forensic reports further suggested the presence of lorazepam in Asunta's hair - about three centimeters from the scalp. A piece of cord recovered near Asunta's body matched the ball found in Porto's Teo home. Additionally, the prosecutors presented evidence of Basterra owning pictures of Asunta in provocative clothing on his computer, as per The Manchester Evening News.


5) Rosario Porto committed s*icide in prison on November 18, 2020

While Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra had reported Asunta Fong Yang missing on September 21, 2013, the divorced couple were arrested on murder charges the very next day. Porto's account of the day of Asunta's disappearance failed to match the footage from surveillance cameras where she was spotted with Asunta on their way to Teo.

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The investigation into the Operación Nenúfar murder case put both parents behind bars for 18 years. However, Porto had reportedly attempted s*icide twice during her sentence and ended up taking her life on November 18, 2020, as she continued to maintain her innocence.


Catch the six episodes of The Asunta Case streaming on Netflix now.

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