Family Crimes

Marine Whose Wife Died Of 'Brutal' Beating Claims He Was Black-Out Drunk During Attack, Cops Say

Rodolfo Rivera Valencia and his wife Natasha Soto Rivera, both Marines, had just attended a military ball in Virginia.

A newlywed Marine accused of strangling and beating his wife to death after they attended a Marine ball claims he was black-out drunk and didn't remember the crime, according to a police affidavit.

Rodolfo Rivera Valencia, 24, has been charged with murder in the death of his wife and fellow Marine, 20-year-old Natasha Soto Rivera, who was found dead in a Virginia hotel room on Nov. 3.

Valencia allegedly called 911 at 10:13 a.m. that morning to report that his wife was unconscious and he believed he may have killed her, according to an affidavit obtained by The Free Lance-Star newspaper in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

When police arrived at the scene they found Rivera dead with injuries to her neck that were consistent with strangulation and bruising on her faces and arms that suggested she had been the victim of a "brutal" beating, the newspaper reports.

Valencia told officers he had gotten black-out drunk after attending the Marine ball the night before and didn't remember what happened, Arlington Detective Jasmine Sean wrote in the police affidavit. He also admitted he didn't immediately call 911 or render medical aid when he found his wife the next morning and told police he had an anger problem, according to the affidavit.

"The suspect was on scene when police arrived and taken into custody without incident," the Arlington County Police said in a statement about the arrest.

The couple had gotten married about seven or eight months before the brutal slaying, Valencia told police. They were both stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico and were parents to a baby son.

Rivera's friend, Leyda Cruz, told WTTG she believed her friend would have fought back in an attack and described her as "very tough."

"She was full of life, she had more to give and it was taken away from her," she said.

The victim's sister, who wasn't identified, also told the station her mom planned to raise the baby "exactly how my sister would have wanted him to be raised" and said it wasn't fair that her sister wouldn't get the chance to see him grow up.

Valencia is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.

[Photo: Arlington County Police]

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