• Sibora Gagani's body found sandwiched in the apartment of the man accused of killing his girlfriend last month in Torremolinos

"A cold and heartless monster", with these terms refer in Torremolinos (Malaga) to Marco Gaio Romeo, the man who the National Police arrested on May 17 accused of the homicide of which until then had been his partner and the mother of his son, Paula, and who is now also charged with the death of another woman, Sibora Gagani, a young woman of Albanian origin living in Italy who disappeared in July 2014 and whose body was found on Tuesday sandwiched between the walls of the last house that the arrested shared with the girl.

On the torso of the body, which was wrapped in plastic bags inside a camping bag and showed signs of violence, there wasa bouquet of flowers and several objects that could have belonged to the disappeared.

The agents had focused the search on a room of the apartment in which an alteration in the construction had been detected after comparing the distribution of the property with that of the adjoining house. The use of a novel technique with X-rays allowed the researchers to find the remains of the woman behind the wall, thanks also to the collaboration of the owner and the current inhabitants of the house.

After demolishing a wall, a large chipboard box filled with lime was located and, inside, the complete body of the woman in conditions of saponification, as well as a plastic bag with a knife stained with dried blood.

Thin, tall and good-looking – he had shaved his hair and grown a beard – Marco Romeo was "an apparently normal guy who greeted smiling when he passed by here," Silverio García, the doorman of a parking lot near San Ginés Street, in the popular area of La Carihuela, where Marco and Paula lived, tells EL MUNDO. Still shocked by the crime, Silverio does not believe what happened.

Marco is 45 years old and is originally from Nettuno, an Italian municipality in the metropolitan area of Rome. From there he left in 2011 with Sibora Gagani to settle on the Costa del Sol in Malaga. He enjoys going to the gym, archery, baseball and martial arts, as shown on his social networks.

He has worked in Torremolinos in the hospitality sector as a cook and pizza maker, but apparently he is "a problematic guy" and the jobs did not last long. In the America restaurant, next to the house he shared with Paula and where she was stabbed, he barely lasted a month and a half.

That was his public facet, the best known, but Marco had another face, a more aggressive and violent one. At work they knew that he had once hit Paula and those closest to the girl, 28 years old and mother of three children (the one she had with Marco and two from a previous relationship), had encouraged him to leave her. "But she said no. I was worried about the child," says Antonio Romero, the couple's neighbor and Paula's partner, with regret.

He was the first to arrive at the house on the day of the murder. He heard Paula's screams and went down. He banged on the door and asked Marco to let him see the young woman. He replied that nothing was wrong and that they were just couple discussions. "Everything is fine brother," he replied at the insistence of his neighbor. But "Paula was already dead," he adds. When they entered the apartment Marco had left and Paula was lying on the floor in a pool of blood. "What I saw I will never forget," he tells EL MUNDO.

The National Police arrested the Italian a few hours after the event. "He was so quiet, a few meters from the house, drinking a beer as if nothing had happened," they comment with indignation in the America restaurant.

After his arrest as the alleged perpetrator of Paula's murder, Marco had collapsed when he saw a photograph of Sibora on a board at the police station and, at one point, confessed to investigators that he killed the young woman and that he sandwiched her in the apartment they shared in this tourist municipality on the Malaga coast. He had then refused to confirm his confession before the judge, but there were sufficient grounds to return to García de la Serna's home and search it again.

Neither Sibora first, nor Paula later, had been registered as Marco's partners in the Comprehensive Monitoring System in cases of Gender Violence (VioGen), although the Italian data did appear in VioGen.

The investigation, which has been taken over by the Court of Instruction number 3 of Torremolinos, remains open and under summary secrecy. The alleged perpetrator of both crimes, who is currently in prison, had several previous complaints of gender violence although none of them were deceased. These were the complaints made about two romantic relationships that the detainee had maintained in the past, one of which would have even required the adoption of precautionary restraining measures by the authorities.

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