26-year-old Sara Encinas lived with her parents, her sister and her paternal grandmother in the town of Vicálvaro. She studied law at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and worked as a telephone operator in Alcobendas. In January 2004 her grandfather, to whom she was very close, had died, and she had been unable to take her February exams. However, she was determined to pass the year and had exciting plans for the future with her boyfriend, Oscar, with whom she had put down a deposit on an apartment which was due to be finished in 2007. On the morning of 11 March, Sara Encinas boarded the commuter train to go to work. Her relatives had to wait 36 hours for confirmation of her death.
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 blast killed one of the officers, bringing the total number of people killed by the 11 March killers to 192.