Asunta Case: Why Did They Kill Her? Netflix Show Couple's Motive Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Tristán Ulloa as Alfonso, Candela Peña as Rosario in The Asunta Case

The murder of Asunta Fong Yang at the hands of her adopted parents marks the focus of Netflix's The Asunta Case, but many are unclear on their motives.

[ The Asunta Case Netflix Cast, Characters & Actors (Photos) ]

What Happened to Asunta Fong Yang?

Asunta Fong Yang was adopted from China at just nine months old in June 2001 into a Spanish family upper-middle-class family, with her new parents being lawyer Rosario Porto and freelance journalist Alfonso Basterra.

Early in her life, Asunta proved to be intellectually gifted, taking up classes in multiple extra languages, receiving stellar grades, skipping a year in school, and exhibiting a talent for music through the piano and violin.

Amid Porto's mental health struggles and the death of both her parents, the couple divorced in early 2013 but reconnected to some degree over that summer.

On the night of September 21, 2013, Asunta's parents reported her missing only for her body to be found on the roadside the following day.

In the coming days, Porto and Basterra were arrested for the murder of Asunta after their account of events to police failed to align with CCTV footage.

The coroner's report noted that Asunta died of asphyxiation and had consumed 27 Lorazepam pills that day, along with receiving regular doses in the days and weeks leading up to her tragic death. The very same medication was being taken by Porto at the time, with these 27 pills being over nine times a "high dosage" for an adult.

Years later in October 2015, a jury concluded Asunta was drugged and suffocated to death by her adopted parents and each received an 18-year prison sentence.

[ Alfonso Basterra Today: Where Is He Now? Asunta Case Criminal Breakdown ]

Why Did Asunta's Parents Kill Her?

Asunta Case Tristán Ulloa as Alfonso, Candela Peña as Rosario

The motive as to why Asunta's parents killed her is unconfirmed as the couple maintained their innocence through the trial and never confessed to their crimes.

One theory surrounding Asunta's murder was that she was placed to inherit money from her wealthy original Chinese family, namely her grandfather, and, as such, her adoptive parents killed her for financial benefit. However, there is no evidence to support this nor any proof of her birth grandfather leaving her money.

There was also speculation of family dysfunction as the Spanish couple maintained extreme expectations of their daughter in her education. So perhaps Porto and Basterra killed Asunta out of frustration or even growing tired of having her in their lives, as some have previously suggested.

As Porto and Basterra were dosing Asunta with Lorazepam (an anxiety medication) over an extended period, some have wondered whether they may have killed their daughter to prevent her from revealing such details.

The Asunta Case is streaming now on Netflix.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.