Rafael Serrano López had not had an easy life: Born in Cordoba, he emigrated to Madrid with his wife where they struggled to raise their three children. He was later widowed, although in latter years he considered himself fortunate to have found happiness with Encarnación Mora Donoso. He used to visit her every Wednesday afternoon and on Thursdays they would take the train to Madrid together. They were both killed in the 11 March terrorist attacks.
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.