Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo surrendered to federal agents just hours after authorities identified the body of a dead woman as his 27-year-old pregnant lover.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo surrendered to federal agents on Sunday night to face charges just hours after authorities identified the body of a dead woman as his 27-year-old pregnant lover, officials said. .
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI accuses Verdejo of punching Keishla Rodríguez in the face and injecting her with a syringe containing an unidentified substance purchased at a public housing estate. It is alleged that he then tied his arms and feet with wire and tied a heavy block to it before throwing it off a bridge at 8:30 am on Thursday.
The complaint states that Verdejo shot Rodríguez in the body while he was on the bridge.
The complaint states that an unidentified witness helped Verdejo to kidnap and kill Rodríguez.
Rodríguez was found in a lagoon in the capital of the U.S. territory on Saturday, a few days after his disappearance. She was identified on Sunday through dental records, the Puerto Rico Institute of Forensic Science said in a statement.
FBI spokeswoman Limary Cruz told the Associated Press that the federal agency was filing lawsuits that would be announced soon. In the meantime, the United States Attorney’s Office said that no decision has been made on whether to proceed with the death penalty.
Verdejo and his lawyers declined to comment earlier, and police said the boxer did not originally cooperate and refused to answer questions.
Rodríguez’s family said she was pregnant with Verdejo’s son. Keila Ortiz, the victim’s mother, told reporters that her daughter called her before her disappearance on Thursday and told her that Verdejo was coming to her home to see the results of a pregnancy test.
“I said to her, ‘Be careful,’ because he had already threatened her,” said Ortiz. She said that Verdejo had told her daughter not to have the baby, mentioning her career and family.
Verdejo is married, but has known Rodríguez since elementary school and kept in touch with her, her parents said. They reported her disappearance after she did not show up for her job at an animal care company.
Verdejo (27-2, 17 knockouts) represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Olympics, the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division. His career was temporarily diverted after a motorcycle accident in 2016 that took him to the hospital.
The case outraged many people in Puerto Rico, where another woman was recently found burned to death after filing a domestic violence complaint that a judge dismissed. A Superior Court judge announced an investigation into that decision.
Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday on a bridge across the lagoon where Rodríguez’s body was found to demand justice for her and other dead women, with some throwing flowers into the water below.