Lightweight boxer and Olympian, Félix Verdejo-Sánchez, was found tied to the murder of his pregnant girlfriend alongside co-conspirator
By Victor Ortiz, Jr., Writer
The body of a pregnant Keishla Marlen Rodríguez-Ortiz, 27, was discovered on Saturday, May 1 in the San Jose Lagoon located in San Juan, Puerto Rico where it was discarded by famous Puerto Rican boxer, Félix Verdejo-Sánchez, 27, and his accomplice Luis Antonio Cádiz-Martínez who have both been charged with several counts of murder, including killing of an unborn child.
“Keishla Rodríguez-Ortiz was taken from a family that loved her, and she and her child were denied the most fundamental right of life, and the joy of knowing what that life could have been,” said U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow on justice.gov.
Mr. Cádiz-Martínez, who at the time was an unnamed witness on an affidavit filed on May 2, revealed Mr. Verdejo-Sánchez as the mastermind behind the murder and mentioned that Ms. Rodríguez-Ortiz, who had previously told the boxer that she was pregnant with his child, drove to an agreed upon location on Apr. 29 to meet with him. Rodríguez-Ortiz then climbed into the boxer’s SUV and had a conversation with him, which resulted in a series of events that led to both her and their unborn child’s murder.
The boxer punched Ms. Rodríguez-Ortiz in the face, injected her with substances and with the help of Cádiz-Martínez, tied wire to her hands and feet and attached a block to her then dumped her body in the lagoon from the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge. Verdejo-Sánchez also shot Rodríguez-Ortiz at the bridge.
The victim’s car was abandoned shortly thereafter.
Puerto Rican newspaper, El Vocero reported that an autopsy performed by the Institute of Forensic Sciences found that Ms. Rodríguez-Ortiz suffered from a fractured jaw and nose as a result of the forceful punch received by the boxer and was injected with a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.
The autopsy further revealed that Ms. Rodríguez-Ortiz was likely unconscious, but still alive when she was thrown into the lagoon and that her death was likely the result of drowning.
Mr. Verdejo-Sánchez turned himself in on Sunday, May 2.
An indictment charging the accused on May 6 mentioned that Mr. Cádiz-Martínez became involved with the plot on Apr. 27 when Mr. Verdejo-Sánchez asked for his help in aborting the victim’s pregnancy. He was promised payment for his assistance.
Both men are charged with:
- Kidnapping resulting in death
- Carjacking resulting in death
- Intentionally killing an unborn child, which is also referred to as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 or “Laci and Conner’s Law.”
Each charge carries either a life sentence in prison or the death penalty or both.
In an interview with Telemundo, Keila Ortiz-Rivera, the victim’s mother, expressed that she would prefer life imprisonment for Verdejo-Sánchez over the death penalty.
“I want him to suffer the same thing my daughter suffered. Every second. Every minute. Every hour,” said Ortiz-Rivera.
Known in professional boxing as “El Diamante” or “The Diamond,” Mr. Verdejo-Sánchez competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games and had known the victim for many years. He’s married to a woman that knew about the relationship and they have at least one child together as posted on Verdejo-Sánchez’s Instagram account.
“Justice for Keishla and for all women. He is not the diamond. The diamond was my daughter. He is an abuser. A liar!,” said Ortiz-Rivera on a video posted to Twitter. “Abuser! You don’t do that! They killed my daughter and my grandchild! You don’t do that!”
Both of the accused have pleaded not guilty and are currently being held without bail.