Juan Carlos del Amo’s family lived in Coslada. His mother, Carmen, was a cleaning lady, and his father, Carlos, was a locksmith. When Juan Carlos began studying chemistry at the Complutense University, he told his friends “I have to get this degree for my mother, who is scrubbing floors just so that I can study”. Not only did he complete his bachelor’s degree, he went on to receive a PhD with distinction cum laude, to the great pride of his family. On the morning of March 11, 2004, Juan Carlos’ sister, Inés, was supposed to take the same suburban train as him, but stayed home because of a strike at the university. Juan Carlos was killed on the train that was blown up beside Calle Téllez.
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.