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Verdejo boxer charged in the death of a pregnant woman in Puerto Rico

Verdejo boxer charged in the death of a pregnant woman in Puerto Rico

The boxer Félix Verdejo, accused of the bloody murder of a pregnant woman, appeared on Monday before a federal judge in Puerto Rico who ordered his imprisonment without bail, in a case that sparks protests against femicide in this United States territory.

Félix “El Diamante” Verdejo, 27, had surrendered to justice on Sunday following an arrest warrant that charged him with three charges for the kidnapping and murder of Keishla Rodríguez and her unborn child.

This Monday, the federal judge in San Juan Camille Vélez, read him the charges in a virtual hearing and ordered his imprisonment without bail until a next hearing, in which the former Olympic fighter is expected to plead guilty or innocent, the newspaper reported local El Nuevo Día.

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A federal complaint obtained by AFP indicates that Verdejo, who is married and also had a relationship with Rodríguez, allegedly kidnapped the victim on April 29 after she asked him for help to terminate her pregnancy.

“He hit her in the face and they injected a substance into her with a syringe,” says the affidavit of the FBI agent who conducted the investigation.

According to the text, Verdejo and a witness to the events tied Rodríguez hand and foot, tied her to a block and, after driving to a lagoon in San Juan, “they threw her into the water over the bridge.” Then he shot her when the victim was already in the water.

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The FBI found evidence that Verdejo and Rodríguez, 27, had communicated by phone on the day of the kidnapping and a security camera shows a car just like the boxer’s standing on the bridge.

Rodríguez had been reported missing on Thursday and the body was found in the San José lagoon on Saturday. His family had identified the boxer as responsible for his disappearance and after his death.

The case sparked protests in Puerto Rico, whose governor, Pedro Pierluisi, declared a state of emergency in January due to violence against women.

Verdejo, who has a journey of 27 won fights (17 by knockout) and two losses, represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 London Olympics, and that same year he began his professional career in the lightweight category.

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He had problems with the continuity of his career after suffering a motorcycle accident in 2016. AFP (HN)

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