Puerto Rican boxer Flix Verdejo surrendered to federal agents to face charges hours after authorities identified the body of a deceased woman as her 27-year-old pregnant lover, officials said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Sunday evening that Verdejo was charged with kidnapping and carjacking that resulted in the death and intentional murder of an unborn child.
FBI criminal complaint accuses Verdejo of punching Keishla Rodrguez in his face and inject him with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance purchased from a social housing complex. He alleges that he then tied her arms and feet with wire and tied a heavy block to her before throwing her off the bridge at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
The complaint states that Verdejo then shot Rodrguez’s body as he stood on the bridge.
The complaint states that a witness she did not identify helped Verdejo kidnap and kill Rodrguez.
Rodrguez was found on Saturday in a lagoon near the capital of the United States, a few days after her disappearance. She was identified via dental records on Sunday, the Puerto Rico Institute of Forensic Sciences said in a statement.
Verdejo and his lawyers had previously declined to comment, and police said the boxer initially did not cooperate and declined to answer questions.
Rodrguez’s family said she was pregnant with Verdejo’s child. Keila Ortiz, the victim’s mother, told reporters her daughter called her before disappearing on Thursday and told her Verdejo was heading to her home to see the results of a pregnancy test.
“I said to him: “ Be careful ”, because he had already threatened her,Ortiz said. She said Verdejo told her daughter not to have the baby, mentioning her career and family.
Verdejo is married and has a baby girl, but had known Rodrguez from college and had kept in touch with her, her parents said. They reported her missing after she failed to show up for her job at an animal grooming company.
Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Olympics, the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division. His career was temporarily hijacked after a motorcycle accident in 2016 that put him in hospital.
The case outraged many 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 this decision.
Hundreds of people gathered on a bridge across the lagoon where Rodrguez’s body was found on Sunday to demand justice for her and other women killed, some throwing flowers into the water below.