• December 9, 2023

Boxer Felix Verdejo turns self in after body of missing woman found

A 27-year-old woman whose body was found in a lagoon in Puerto Rico was a companion of the light boxer Felix Verdejo, who, according to official information, reported to federal agents on Sunday evening.

Keishla Rodriguez’s body was found days after she was reported missing. She was identified from dental files on Sunday, the Puerto Rico Forensics Institute said in a statement.

A criminal complaint filed by the FBI accused Verdejo of slapping Rodriguez in the face and injecting her with a syringe filled with an unidentified substance purchased from a public housing complex. It is alleged that he then tied 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.

The complaint says Verdejo then shot Rodriguez’s body while he was standing on the bridge. The complaint alleges that an unidentified witness helped Verdejo kidnap and kill Rodriguez.

FBI spokeswoman Limary Cruz told The Associated Press that the federal agency is filing charges that will be released soon. Meanwhile, the US Attorney’s Office said no decision had been made whether to pursue the death penalty.

Verdejo and his lawyers previously declined to comment, and police said the boxer initially did not cooperate and refused to answer questions.

Top Rank, who has promoted the 27-year-old Verdejo since turning pro in 2012, released a statement on the situation on Saturday.

“Top Rank’s thoughts and prayers go with Keishla Marlen Rodriguez Ortiz’s family and friends and with all those who mourn,” the statement said. “We are deeply concerned about the news reports and will continue to monitor developments in this case as it progresses.”

Rodriguez’s family have said they are pregnant with Verdejo’s child. Keila Ortiz, the woman’s mother, told reporters that her daughter called her before she disappeared Thursday and that Verdejo would go to her home to see the results of a pregnancy test.

“I told her to be careful because he had already threatened her” and told her not to have the baby and mentioned his career and family, she said.

Verdejo is married but has known and kept in touch with Rodriguez since middle school, her parents said. They reported her missing after she never showed up to work at an animal care company.

Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) is a former Olympic gold medalist who represented Puerto Rico in 2012. His professional career was temporarily diverted after being hospitalized after a motorcycle accident in 2016.

The case has outraged many in Puerto Rico, where another woman was recently found burned after filing a domestic violence complaint that a judge dismissed. A Supreme Court judge has announced an investigation into the ruling.

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday at a bridge that crosses the lagoon where Rodriguez’s body was found to seek justice for her and other women killed. Some threw flowers into the water.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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