The Guardia Civil are questioning nine people in connection with the murder of 48-year-old María Antonia Colom Vich, whose charred body was found dumped by the side of the Inca to Llubi road on Monday. The veil of secrecy remains over the investigation, but police sources last night could not rule out further arrests as police continue to work towards solving the brutal and violent crime. Some of those being questioned are being held in police custody and all are expected to appear before a remand hearing in Palma this morning. Not all of the nine are Spanish, police sources have confirmed that at least one is from Ecuador. Police are refusing to reveal any information about the nine for fears it may complicate the investigation. But the prime suspect was apparently arrested at Palma airport on Tuesday as he tried to skip the island and further arrests were made on Tuesday night, within hours of the dental records revealing the victim's identity. At this stage, police have ruled out sexual motives for the killing based on the autopsy results which also revealed that she had been dead ten days by the time her disfigured body was found by the road side. Although the 48-year-old divorcee with an adult daughter who lived alone in Palma was not killed at the side of the road, police believe that she may well have been doused in petrol and set alight near to the spot where she was found. Police are also investigating claims that the victim, who was a talented artist and writer, had been raped earlier this month. She reported the sexual attack to the Bulletin's sister paper Ultima Hora. Despite being advised to report the incident to the National Police, no charges were pressed with the National Police, although an investigation was subsequently mounted. However, that has since been overshadowed by recent developments.

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