The chilling true story behind Netflix’s ‘The Asunta Case’
(Credit: Netflix)


The chilling true story behind Netflix's 'The Asunta Case'

We are living in the age of true crime dominance. From documentaries and series to fictionalised versions of true crime cases, our streaming platforms are feeding into our fascination with the macabre weekly. Netflix continues to churn out gripping tales ripped from the headlines, and the latest addition to the streaming giant’s repertoire is The Asunta Case, a miniseries inspired by one of Spain’s most chilling true crime cases.

The Asunta Case revolves around the harrowing murder of Asunta Fong Yang, a 12-year-old girl whose lifeless body was discovered on the side of a road near Santiago de Compostela. What began as a missing person’s report quickly became a story that sent shockwaves throughout the country.

The Asunta Case follows the story of Asunta’s adoptive parents, Rosario Porto and Alfonso Basterra, a wealthy couple from Santiago de Compostela. In 2001, Porto and Basterra travelled to China to adopt Asunta, bringing her into their privileged world with high hopes and dreams for her future. However, twelve years later, tragedy struck when Asunta went missing before being found dead. 

Porto and Basterra, once pillars of their community, soon found themselves at the centre of a homicide investigation, accused of perpetrating the unthinkable crime against their own daughter. Speculations were rife about the motive behind the killing. While some rumours suggested Porto and Basterra did it for inheritance money—a claim that was debunked, others speculated if the couple had simply grown tired of the child they had gone so far and beyond to adopt.

The true story that inspired Netflix’s The Asunta Case

Asunta was the first Chinese child adopted in Santiago. She was a gifted child prodigy, excelling in ballet, violin, and piano. The miniseries, which stars Candela Peña and Tristán Ulloa, reconstructs the events surrounding Asunta’s murder, offering viewers a glimpse into the chilling reality of the case. 

The real-life tragedy behind The Asunta Case is equally as disturbing as its on-screen portrayal. Asunta’s life was marked by privilege and opportunity, yet beneath the facade lay a world of dysfunction and despair. Porto’s struggles with mental health and her tumultuous relationship with Basterra cast a shadow over Asunta’s upbringing, ultimately culminating in her untimely demise.

In 2009, Porto faced mental health struggles, spending two nights in a psychiatric hospital due to suicidal thoughts. She felt overwhelmed, leading to irritability with Asunta. Discharged after two days, Porto skipped follow-up appointments. By 2011, Porto considered sending Asunta to an English school for her education. 

The investigation into Asunta’s death gripped the nation, drawing widespread media attention and sparking outrage across Spain. In 2015, Porto and Basterra were found guilty of their daughter’s murder, and sentenced to eighteen years in prison for their heinous crime. Porto’s life came to an end in 2020 when she died by suicide in her prison cell, leaving behind plenty of unanswered questions and unresolved grief. Basterra is still serving his sentence despite appeals to overturn his verdict. He is at the Teixeiro prison in Spain.

Following Asunta’s tragic murder, adoptive parents in Galicia face more stringent adoption criteria. China’s stricter adoption regulations have significantly reduced international adoptions as well.

You can tune into The Asunta Case on Netflix and catch the trailer here: