Henry Alejandro Jiménez, 20, went missing on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Orihuela Costa, when he was celebrating the New Year with eight friends. Since then, nothing is known about his whereabouts.
The circumstances surrounding his disappearance are still shrouded in mystery, although mother, Gina Marín, is convinced that he was thrown out onto the street following an altercation with his best friend in Las Chismosas.
His brother, Andrés, 29, raised the alarm when he didn’t return home. As he explains, the whole family and many friends began the search for Henry the day after his disappearance.
Over four years later, mother Gina has still not had a full night’s sleep. “Henry’s life wasn’t the only one destroyed that night, so many other lives have been devastated by his disappearance. We will be unable to come to terms with this tragedy until justice is served and we receive answers,” she said.
Neither is Gina the woman that she once was. She has lost her hair and health looking for her son; she has spent nights sleeping on the streets, has searched through dozens of abandoned houses in case his body was thrown into one, has even disguised herself and climbed up trees to watch those who she believes are responsible for Henry’s disappearance.
This broken mother has said many times that she wants to die and yet she continues to fight: sick and broken; a woman who has had everything taken from her.
“At eight on New Years morning I began calling Henry to ask about his evening. He always spoke to me before going to sleep, when he would tell me that he had arrived home or was coming to have coffee with me, but there was no reply. I called Andrés, my other son. I don’t know why your brother is not answering his phone, I told him. It is not normal”.
Gina immediately began to search, already in distress. She went to register Henry’s disappearance with the Guardia Civil, where they lived. “He is over 18 years old, he will be partying,” That’s what they told me, but I insisted: something has happened to my son. I called the police again, all the hospitals. I found one of his friends from the party, he was traveling but he gave me the number of another”.
All the books advise reporting such an incident as soon as possible, because the first few hours are critical in order that information can be followed while it is still fresh. Gina followed the manual of her instincts, and her heart.
Henry’s friend called to say that they were waiting to tell her what had happened. She and her eldest son ran to the house, but they didn’t open the door. They went back later when there were eight young people waiting for them in the street.
The story destroyed her. She was told that an Icelander, with whom Henry shared a flat, began to hit him. “They said that the blows were all to the head and they sounded like firecrackers. He was thrown into the street half naked, he was asking for help and calling out for his mother.”
Gina got some of the friends together and took them to the Guardia Civil barracks. “They agreed on what to say, but only after exchanging many messages by text. The Icelander confessed to hitting Henry but explained that he ran away. However, no cameras in the area caught Henry either walking or asking for help. A few days after the attack, the roommate returned to Iceland.
The Civil Guard began the search, and there were raids. Although Gina, her family, and many friends, went out daily to explore every corner of the Orihuela Costa, there was no sign.
Some days later, following one of those desperate searches, one of Henry’s friends, who was at the house during the party, showed her a video. She watched it and fainted. Her son had been badly beaten.
“Why didn’t they help him, why didn’t they call an ambulance?” she continues to wonder four years later”.
“The Guardia Civil sergeant and lieutenant told me: without a body there is no crime. I couldn’t take it anymore. You know my son is dead, I have told them many times.”
The family is very unhappy with the work of the authorities. Andrés says that he thinks that the case was too big for the Civil Guard and that “they lacked any inclination.” He considers that they did not act well from the start.
In the meantime, Gina, mother of two other children, was sleeping on the street, she spent days and nights putting up posters and searching, asking anyone. She even climbed a tree to keep an eye on the Icelander who she is convinced is responsible for Henry’s death, and such was her grief and utter despair that she was forced to leave the beauty salon that she ran, with five employees, and in which Henry had often acted as a translator for her foreign clientele.
Gina went time and time again to the Guardia barracks in Torre de la Horadada demanding that they keep searching for her child, but there were no further clues and the investigation began to tail off.
Henry’s mother has her own theory. “That night, the Icelander, his roommate, beat up Henry as he was leaving to go back home. She believes that Henry threatened to report him for an incident that occurred some days earlier.
She said that on Christmas Eve, Henry went to her hairdressing salon with a girl, asking if she could have dinner with them. Gina was not amused; the girl was Icelandic and a total stranger.
“She has a problem, mom, and she can’t stay with Álex, the roommate, in the house,” he told her.
Now Gina knows what “the problem” was. She located the young woman and was told that she had been raped by the same individual who she alleges beat Henry to death. Gina continues to beg her to report him to the police, for she considers it to be the trigger for what happened to her son.
All the while, Henry’s room mate has continued to be the main suspect of the mother. She explained that the Icelander lived with three friends, but one of them died from an overdose in the apartment. The other decided to return to his country and the Icelander was left alone.
Later it was learned that the dead companion had actually suffered a violent death.
Although Henry still went to live with the Icelander, on December 28, he told his mother: “he is very aggressive. He’s not a good person… I’m going to tell him that I’m going back home to live with you.”
On New Year’s Eve, when the attack took place, according to friends, Henry had told them that he was going to report “something.” But he wouldn’t say anything further, so what it was also remains a mystery.
Four years after Henry’s disappearance, Gina, who had worked as a makeup artist on television and set up a successful beauty centre, still rarely eats.
She had lost her hair and she suffers from continuous stress bleeding. She now works as a cleaner and lives with her daughter, sitting by the phone 24 hours a day, a mother destroyed by grief but still hoping that, one day, it will ring.
Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call in confidence 062 or 112.