Woman gave partner’s head in a box to a friend to look after

CLEANER has informed police of her fears that she might have disposed of a man’s body without

realising, and her boss, 61-year-old Carmen Merino, is being investigated by police, on suspicion of murder.

The cleaner, when interviewed by police, recalled how Merino asked her to come to the home in Castro Urdiales, Cantabria, for a shift, despite not working for the woman for a long time.

She said she was told to bring her car and park it in her building, and, on arrival, she found several bin bags, big, black and heavy, sitting by the front door. Once she had cleaned the house, Merino ordered her to take the bags in her car and dump them wherever she could.

The cleaner followed instructions without looking in the bags, which, police now believe, could have contained the severed remains of Merino’s former partner.

The incident occurred a week after the grisly discovery of his head in a box, which Merino had given to a friend for “safekeeping” in March. She told her friend that it contained sex toys, and that she would be embarrassed if people found out.

However, when a bad smell emanated from the box, the friend, from Sevilla, decided to open it, only to see the severed head, which shocked her deeply.

Police are now looking for the rest of the man’s remains in the Meruelo rubbish dump, which is one of the biggest in Cantabria. But they are not hopeful of finding the body.

Tests have confirmed that the severed head belonged to Baranda, and that it had signs of having been “manipulated… possibly burned”.

One theory is that Merino baked the head before storing it in the box, in the belief that it wouldn’t smell. Tests are ongoing to determine the cause of her former partner’s death.

Merino is being held in custody on suspicion of murder, while the motive of the crime remains a mystery.

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