Martha Plasensia had been living in Spain for five years and had just obtained Spanish citizenship. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she worked as a live-in carer at the home of an elderly couple. Two of her five brothers had also emigrated to Spain. Martha did not usually take the suburban train, but she had spent her day off at her brothers’ house in the Villaverde district. From there she accompanied her brother-in-law to Atocha station, where they went their separate ways. Martha was killed in the attacks. Her brother-in-law boarded the train for Guadalajara and survived the attack.
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.