A Washington man is accused of murdering his mistress with a box cutter, knife and broken tequila bottle after she flew up from California to visit him in February.
Alejandro Aguilera Rojas, 23, was formally charged in a Tacoma federal court last week with the murder of a 21-year-old woman, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington said in a press release. The victim has been identified as California woman Dioneth Lopez, the Peninsula Daily News reports.
She had traveled to the Seattle area to meet up with Rojas and the pair traveled to Sequim on Feb. 10, according to the press release. Rojas was allegedly in a relationship with the victim, which he had kept hidden from his wife and family, the press release states.
Shortly after Lopez traveled to Washington, her family and friends grew worried. They hadn’t heard from her so they reached out to Rojas. He allegedly “gave them conflicting information about the victim’s whereabouts,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. One of her friends then reported her missing.
By Valentine’s Day, the search for Lopez turned tragic when her body was found off a logging road in the Olympic National Forest.
She was found face down and entangled in some vegetation with the hoods of her sweatshirt and jacket covering up her head, according to a criminal complaint. She had suffered lacerations to her head, her jaw, her neck and across her throat. She also had suffered bruises and scrapes and on her abdomen and side and cuts to her fingers and wrists.
“There were signs she had been beaten and stabbed,” the press release states. “A broken and bloody tequila bottle, box cutter, and knife were located near where the victim’s body was discovered.”
A medical examiner ruled her death as a homicide by multiple blunt and sharp force injuries. The criminal complaint alleges that her injuries “were primarily caused during Rojas’ violent assault of her using the tequila bottle, a knife and possibly other weapons, that occurred near and at the location where (her) body was found, resulting in her death.”
Investigators were able to link the crime scene back to Rojas after looking at surveillance footage from a Sequim convenience store. It allegedly showed that Rojas and Lopez had visited the store together.
Rojas was arrested on Feb. 19, and he pleaded guilty in Clallam County Superior Court on March 6 to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon enhancement, according to the Peninsula Daily News. That charge was dismissed last week without prejudice, and he was charged in federal court with second-degree murder instead because the murder occurred on federal land.
He has allegedly admitted to investigators that he and Lopez “had been having a ‘thing’ for about two years,” according to the criminal complaint. He claimed that while in the national forest Lopez “threatened to kill his wife and child,” before attempting to stab him, the complaint states. That is when he started allegedly beating her over the head with a Tequila bottle.
“He also claimed to have pushed [Lopez] into the woods,” the complaint states. “Rojas stated that when he drove away, he thought [Lopez] was still breathing.”
Rojas claimed he went home following the fight.
It’s not clear if Rojas has a lawyer.
“The victim’s family has lost their loved one forever, and we will work hard to ensure that the defendant is held accountable for taking her life,” U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran said in last week’s press release.
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