Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo turned himself in to federal agents Sunday night just hours to face federal charges after authorities identified the body of a dead woman as his 27-year-old pregnant lover, officials said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said late Sunday that Verdejo was being charged with kidnapping and carjacking resulting in death and with intentionally killing an unborn child.
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI accuses Verdejo of punching Keishla Rodriguez in the face and injecting her with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance bought at a public housing complex. It alleges he then bound her arms and feet with wire and tied a heavy block to her before throwing her off a bridge at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Keishla Marlen Rodríguez was reported missing by her family in Puerto Rico on Thursday
Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo turned himself in to federal agents Sunday night
The family of missing 27-year-old Rodríguez confirmed that the Kia Forte belongs to her
The complaint states that Verdejo then shot at Rodriguez’s body as he stood on the bridge.
The complaint says a witness it did not identify helped Verdejo kidnap and kill Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was found in a lagoon near the U.S. territory’s capital Saturday, a couple of days after she was reported missing. She was identified Sunday via dental records, Puerto Rico’s Institute of Forensic Science said in a statement.
Verdejo and his attorneys previously declined comment, and police said the boxer did not originally cooperate and refused to answer questions.
Félix Verdejo arrives at the police headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to meet with investigators from the Criminal Investigation Corps
Keishla Marlen Rodríguez had been involved in a relationship with Puerto Rican boxer, Félix ‘El Diamante’ Verdejo, a former lightweight champion
Rodriguez’s family said she was pregnant with Verdejo’s child. Keila Ortiz, the victim’s mother, told reporters that her daughter had called her before she vanished Thursday and told her that Verdejo was going to her house to see the results of a pregnancy test.
‘I told her, `Be careful,’ because he had already threatened her,’ Ortiz said. She said Verdejo had told her daughter not to have the baby, mentioning his career and family.
Verdejo is married and has a young daughter but had known Rodriguez since middle school and kept in touch with her, her parents said. They reported her missing after she didn’t show up for her job at an animal grooming business.
Verdejo is signed with Top Rank promotions but hasn’t fought since a knockout loss to Masayoshi Nakatani on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas
Verdejo (27-2, 17 knockouts) represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2012, the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division. His career was temporarily sidetracked after a 2016 motorcycle accident that put him in the hospital.
The case has outraged many in Puerto Rico, where another woman was recently found burned to death after she filed a domestic violence complaint that a judge dismissed. A Superior Court judge has announced an investigation into that decision.
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at a bridge that crosses the lagoon where Rodriguez’s body was found to demand justice for her and other women killed, with some throwing flowers into the water below.