Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo charged after body of missing pregnant woman found

Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez turned himself in Sunday after authorities announced they had identified the body of a woman who was carrying his child and went missing last week.

Verdejo, 27, is charged with kidnapping resulting in death and killing of an unborn child, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Puerto Rico on Sunday.

The complaint said the victim, identified as Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, 27, was reported missing on Thursday. Her body was recovered in the San Jose Lagoon in San Juan on Saturday, the complaint said, and she was identified via dental records, according to a statement released by Puerto Rico’s Institute of Forensic Science on Sunday.

Lymarie Llovet, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Puerto Rico, told NBC News that Verdejo self-surrendered on Sunday. He appeared in court Monday morning, where he was ordered held without bail.

According to the criminal complaint, cell phone records and surveillance footage from the bridge helped investigators locate victim’s body. Her car was found abandoned in Canovanas, about 13 miles from the bridge, on Friday. And police found at least one shell casing on the bridge.

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.

Verdejo represented Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2012, this is the same year he became a professional boxer competing in the lightweight division. His career was sidetracked after a 2016 motorcycle accident that put him in the hospital.

The first two charges Verdejo faces carry a maximum penalty of death, according to court documents filed on Sunday. The killing of an unborn child carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. A decision has yet to be made whether to pursue the death penalty.

Top Rank who represents Verdejo said in a statement: “Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Keishla Marlen Rodriguez Ortiz, and with the entire Puerto Rican people in this time of mourning. We are deeply disturbed by the news reports and will continue to monitor the evolution of the case as it progresses.”

(Cover Image Credit: GDA via AP Images)

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