Lightweight boxer Felix Verdejo surrendered to federal agents in Puerto Rico on Sunday night before being charged with the death of a woman and her unborn child last week in San Juan.
Verdejo surrendered after the FBI filed a criminal complaint in federal court. The San Juan native is accused of killing Keishla Rodriguez, 27, and the baby, whom Rodriguez’s family claim was Verdejo’s. Verdejo is married and the father of a daughter but has known Rodriguez since college. Rodriguez’s parents claim he has kept in touch with her.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Juan has announced (via The Associated Press) that Verdejo, 27, will be charged with kidnapping and carjacking resulting in the death and intentional murder of an unborn child. If found guilty, he faces the federal death penalty.
According to the complaint filed Sunday evening by FBI special agent Lorenzo Villanova Perez, Verdejo called Rodriguez Thursday morning and asked to meet her near her residence. Rodriguez had previously told Verdejo that a pregnancy test showed she was pregnant with her child. Verdejo would have wanted Rodriguez to terminate the pregnancy.
Rodriguez arrived for the meeting and then got into Verdejo’s vehicle. Villanova Perez wrote that Verdejo punched Rodriguez in the face and then injected him with an unknown substance that the boxer got in “Llorens Torres”, which the PA described as a public housing project.
Villanova Perez further alleged that Verdejo and another man tied Rodriguez’s hands and feet and tied her to a block; that Verdejo then drove Rodriguez to a bridge, with the other man following in Rodriguez’s vehicle; and that the men threw Rodriguez’s body off the bridge and into the water below. Verdejo then shot Rodriguez with a pistol as she fell towards the water, according to Villanova Perez’s complaint.
Rodriguez’s family reported her missing on Thursday after she failed to show up for work. His body was discovered on Saturday in a lagoon near San Juan, according to the AP. She was identified on Sunday thanks to dental records.
Villanova Perez wrote in her complaint that the FBI interviewed a “witness” who had “first-hand personal knowledge of the events” surrounding Rodriguez’s death.
Top Rank, promoter of Verdejo, tweeted a statement on Saturday after the discovery of Rodriguez’s body. “We are deeply troubled by the reporting and will continue to monitor developments in the case as it unfolds,” Top Rank said.
Verdejo compiled a career record of 27-2 (17 KOs). His last fight took place on December 12, 2020; he fought for the vacant WBO intercontinental belt and lost to Masayoshi Nakatani by TKO. Verdejo represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Summer Olympics.