Married former boxing champion Félix Verdejo arrested and charged with killing pregnant lover


Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo has turned himself in to police and been charged with killing his pregnant lover after she was found dead in a lagoon. 

The married 27-year-old, who represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2012, turned himself in hours after Keishla Rodríguez’s body was discovered near the island’s capital San Juan, and formally identified. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said late on 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 27-year-old Rodríguez 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. on Thursday. 

Married former boxer Félix Verdejo turned himself in to federal agents on Sunday night

He was charged with killing his pregnant lover Keishla Rodríguez after she was found shot dead in a Puerto Rican lagoon

Married former boxer Félix Verdejo (left) turned himself in to federal agents on Sunday night and was charged with killing his pregnant lover Keishla Rodríguez (right) after she was found shot dead in a Puerto Rican lagoon

Verdejo handed himself into police in Puerto Rico on Sunday evening and was arrested over the death of his pregnant lover

Verdejo handed himself into police in Puerto Rico on Sunday evening and was arrested over the death of his pregnant lover

Verdejo is married to influencer Eliz Marie Santiago and has a two-year-old daughter with her

Verdejo is married to influencer Eliz Marie Santiago and has a two-year-old daughter with her 

Rodríguez had pictured herself with a positive pregnancy test and was planning to tell Verdejo she was carrying their child on the night she disappeared. The image was shown on television by Rodríguez's family as they appealed for her safe return on April 30

Rodríguez had pictured herself with a positive pregnancy test and was planning to tell Verdejo she was carrying their child on the night she disappeared. The image was shown on television by Rodríguez’s family as they appealed for her safe return on April 30

The complaint states that Verdejo then shot at Rodríguez’s body as he stood on the bridge.

The complaint says a witness it did not identify helped Verdejo kidnap and kill Rodríguez.

Rodríguez 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 on Sunday from 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.

Rodríguez’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 on 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.

A criminal complaint filed by the FBI accuses Verdejo of punching Keishla Rodríguez in the face and injecting her with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance bought at a public housing complex

A criminal complaint filed by the FBI accuses Verdejo of punching Keishla Rodríguez in the face and injecting her with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance bought at a public housing complex

Félix Verdejo arrives at the police headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to meet with investigators from the Criminal Investigation Corps, at the time, he was not a suspect

Félix Verdejo arrives at the police headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to meet with investigators from the Criminal Investigation Corps, at the time, he was not a suspect

He was later arrested and charged when he turned himself into police after Rodríguez's body was formally identified

He was later arrested and charged when he turned himself into police after Rodríguez’s body was formally identified

Verdejo had refused to answer questions about his lover's disappearance in an interview with police, but was not considered a suspect at the time

 Verdejo had refused to answer questions about his lover’s disappearance in an interview with police, but was not considered a suspect at the time

Verdejo is married and has a young daughter but had known Rodríguez 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 was previously questioned by police, but had refused to answer questions about his lover’s disappearance.   

At the time, police captain Luis Díaz said Verdejo was not considered a suspect in Rodríguez’s disappearance. 

Police were investigating several anonymous calls received by Rodríguez’s parents in which a female could be heard sobbing in the background.

Officers had found a four-door gray Kia Forte was found abandoned at a lot next to a home in the municipality of Canóvanas. It was later identified as Rodríguez’s car.

His wife, Eliz Marie Santiago, also met with the police for questioning on Friday night.    

Officers found a four-door gray Kia Forte was found abandoned at a lot next to a home in the municipality of Canóvanas. It was later identified as Rodríguez's car

Officers found a four-door gray Kia Forte was found abandoned at a lot next to a home in the municipality of Canóvanas. It was later identified as Rodríguez’s car 

Verdejo had  known Rodríguez since middle school and kept in touch with her, her parents said

Verdejo had  known Rodríguez since middle school and kept in touch with her, her parents said

Verdejo represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2012, the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division (pictured in April 2019)

Verdejo represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2012, the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division (pictured in April 2019) 

Verdejo represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2012, the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division. 

But, he has not fought since December 12, 2020 when he was knocked out in a 9th round loss to Masayoshi Nakatani in Las Vegas. 

Verdejo won his first 23 fights before suffering a TKO loss to Antonio Lozada Torres on March 18, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

The former WBO Latino lightweight champion rebounded by winning his next four bouts and then suffered the setback loss to Nakatani.

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 Rodríguez’s body was found to demand justice for her and other women killed, with some throwing flowers into the water below.   

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

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 

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at a bridge that crosses the lagoon where Rodríguez's body was found to demand justice for her (pictured, her sister Bereliz Nichole)

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at a bridge that crosses the lagoon where Rodríguez’s body was found to demand justice for her (pictured, her sister Bereliz Nichole)



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