Carlos Fernández had only been in Spain three weeks. He had left a wife and five-year old son behind in his native Peru, and come to Madrid to work in construction, like his brother Álvaro, who had immigrated seven years before. He was planning to get a residence permit as soon as possible and had an appointment with the authorities for the 13th March. On 11 March he was in his brother’s home. He got up and left without saying goodbye to either his brother or his sister-in-law. He was killed in the explosions at Atocha station.
11 March 2004 fell on a Thursday. Early that morning, a number of terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda planted thirteen bombs on four suburban trains covering routes running through Madrid. Ten of the bombs exploded between 7.37 and 7.39 am, when the trains were at Atocha, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia stations and alongside Calle Téllez. 191 people were killed in the attack and around 1,500 were wounded. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Spanish history. On 3 April 2004, agents from the Special Operations Group (GEO) were about to enter an apartment in Leganés where the perpetrators of the attacks were believed to be hiding when the terrorists detonated twenty kilograms of explosives in an act of collective suicide. The ensuing blast killed one of the officers, bringing the total number of people killed by the 11 March bombers to 192.