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Former Olympic boxer Felix Verdejo-Sanchez was arrested in San Juan this weekend for the murder and abduction of his pregnant girlfriend.
Keishla Rodriguez Ortiz’s lifeless body was discovered in a lagoon in San Jose on Saturday, days after she told Verdejo-Sanchez she was carrying his child, the FBI said.
On April 29, Verdejo-Sanchez punched Ortiz in the face inside his Dodge SUV, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. He then allegedly injected her with a syringe containing unknown substances, bound her limbs with wire, and tied a “block” to the pregnant woman.
The boxer then drove to Teodoro Moscoso Bridge between San Juan and Carolina, Puerto Rico, police said. He allegedly removed Ortiz from his SUV, tossed her off the bridge, then opened fire on her with a pistol after she plunged into the water.
Verdejo-Sanchez was assisted by an unidentified witness who implicated him to authorities. The witness initially hijacked Ortiz’s car, according to federal agents. The murdered woman’s Kia was later recovered in Canovanas.
Investigators said surveillance footage depicted Verdejo-Sanchez’s Dodge SUV pulling over on the bridge’s emergency lane around the time of Ortiz’s murder. The vehicle was later recorded returning to a nearby location on the bridge at least twice, according to the arrest affidavit. A shell casing was retrieved from the bridge.
Cell phone records later placed Verdejo-Sanchez in the vicinity of Ortiz on the morning of her death. In the hours leading up to her murder, the couple exchanged multiple text messages and at least three phone calls.
Police learned that Ortiz told her family she was pregnant shortly before her death. The unnamed witness also confirmed that Verdejo-Sanchez approached him days before the killing.
“Felix Verdejo-Sanchez contacted the witness and requested his help to terminate the pregnancy of the victim, who told Verdejo that she was pregnant with his child based on a pregnancy test,” the arrest affidavit stated.
Ortiz’s autopsy results weren’t immediately available.
Verdejo-Sanchez was charged with kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, and intentionally killing an unborn child, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
“We will continue working towards the ending of gender-based violence, and we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the victim,” United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow said in a statement on May 2.
The FBI was also assisted by the Puerto Rico Police Bureau and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.
“Puerto Rico mourns Keishla Rodríguez's death,” said Alexis Torres, secretary of the Department of Public Safety. “Our deepest condolences to her family and friends...We'll keep on working together and we will seek justice for Keishla.”
Verdejo-Sanchez competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The lightweight boxer, whose nickname is “El Diamante,” or “the diamond,” has recorded 28 wins, two losses, and 17 knockouts in his professional career, according to his Instagram profile.
Verdejo-Sanchez had an initial court appearance on Monday, according to separate court documents obtained by Oxygen.com. His defense attorney, David Ruhnke, declined to comment on the case this week.
If convicted, the boxer could face the death penalty.
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