On the 26th of November 1985, Mikel Zabalza, his cousin Manuel Vizcay, her partner at the time Idoia Aierbe and Ion Arretxe are arrested by the Civil Guard in Donostia. Mikel Zabalza's brothers, Patxi and Aitor, are also arrested in Orbaizeta and released ten hours later. The Counter -Terrorism Law is applied to all of them, in consequence they are isolated.
Next day, it is stated that Mikel Zabalza has disappeared. The official version says that he has escaped by throwing himself to the Bidasoa river when he was about to show some Civil Guard the location of a hiding place (zulo).
Immediately, the search work begins, however hopes of finding Mikel alive are vanishing as time goes by. Everything points to Zabalza being dead as a consequence of tortures suffered in Intxaurrondo Civil Guard station.
First mobilizations begin and public accusations take place on behalf of political and social agents, even the Civil Governor of Gipuzkoa, Julen Elorriaga, shows his worry about Zabalza Case and claims the Civil Guard's version unbelievable.
Testimonies of those being arrested along with Mikel Zabalza support the version of him being dead as a consequence of the application of choking and drowning torture methods. However, despite many contradictions, the official version is maintained and the Minister of Home Affairs, José Barrionuevo is forced to declare that Mikel Zabalza would finally appear.
Twenty days after his disappearance, on the 15th December, in a place which had strongly been located some days before by Red Cross divers, the corpse of Mikel Zabalza appears floating in full sight of a Civil Guard troop.
Euskal Herria, deeply affected, protects the family with an unprecedented social mobilization and it strongly protests against what they do not hesitate to call a "State Murder".
The difficulty to determine the causes and circumstances of Mikel Zabalza's death, the judicial indolence and the obstacles on behalf of Spanish authorities found by those in search of truth, causes 30 years later neither no one being judged as responsible of the Orbaitzeta neighbour's death nor what really happened to be known.