Olympic lightweight boxer Felix Verdejo faces federal charges for the kidnapping and killing of a pregnant woman. Verdejo turned himself in to federal agents in San Juan after the body of 27-year-old Keishla Rodgriguez was found in a lagoon in Puerto Rico, authorities announced late Sunday night.
Rodgriguez had been reported missing two days prior and was found to be two months pregnant at the time of her death. She was identified Sunday via dental records, Puerto Rico’s Insitute of Forensic Science said in a statement. The victim’s cause of death has not been released.
The U.S. Attorney’s office announced that Verdejo, 27, was arrested on Sunday and charged with kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, and intentionally killing an unborn child. The kidnapping and carjacking charges carry a maximum penalty of death, with a maximum of life in prison for the intentional killing of an unborn child.
A complaint filed by the FBI accuses Verdejo of abducting Rodriguez, punching her 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, tied her to a heavy block, and threw her over a bridge into a lagoon at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Officials say that Verdejo then fired multiple shots at Rogriguez’s body as he stood on the bridge. The complaint claims an unidentified witness helped Verdejo kidnap and kill Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s family has said she was pregnant with Verdejo’s child. Her mother, Keila Ortiz, informed reporters that her daughter called her before disappearing Thursday, and told her she was planning to meet Verdejo at her home to show him the results of a pregnancy test.
Verdejo is married to another woman with whom he has a daughter. Ortiz alleges Verdejo had threatened Rodriguez to get an abortion, “[because] he has his family, he is a boxer [and] a public figure.”
Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) is a former Olympian who competed for Puerto Rico in the 2012 games in London. As of Sunday night, Verdejo’s fighter page was no longer listed on the Top Rank website.
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Top Rank released a statement regarding the incident on Saturday.
“Top Rank’s thoughts and prayers are with Keishla Marlen Rodriguez Ortiz’s family and friends, and with all those in mourning,” the statement read. “We are deeply disturbed by the news reports, and we will continue to monitor developments in the case as it progresses.”