Keishla Rodriguez murder: Felix Verdejo's wife and mom appear as witnesses in court, not suspects
While Felix Verdejo has been charged with Keishla Rodriguez's murder, his wife Eliz Marie Santiago Sierra and mom Madeline Sánchez Bonilla appeared in court
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Keishla Rodriguez was last seen on April 29, shortly before the pregnant 27-year-old pet groomer left to meet Olympic boxer Felix Verdejo, who was also the father of her unborn baby. On May 10, a Puerto Rican Federal Court indicted Verdejo on the murder charges of Rodriguez. Verdejo had manipulated his pregnant mistress to meet with him after she informed him and his wife of her pregnancy. The boxer, who's also been married for eight years with a two-year-old child, had promised Rodriguez that they would talk about the pregnancy, but instead, he beat her up, shot her and threw her body over a bridge into the San Jone Lagoon, tied to a rock.
As the murder case developed, social media scrutiny landed on Verdejo's wife Eliz Marie Santiago Sierra's alleged complicity in the murder of her husband's pregnant mistress. Adding fuel to fire, the autopsy of Rodriguez's body found floating in the lagoon revealed a fractured jaw, forceful blow on the nose and traces of heroin and fentanyl in the system. It is presumed that when the expecting mother was thrown over the bridge into the lagoon, she was unconscious but still alive. A little over two weeks after Rodriguez was found, Verdejo's wife and his mother were summoned by Federal Court. They are, however, not suspects, their attorney insists.
Rodriguez ultimately died by immersion asphyxia as the blocks tied to her drowned her. News of this came after Verdejo's accomplice Luis Antonio Cádiz Martínez revealed the brutal cold-bloodedness of the way Rodriguez was murdered. Martinez, who also served as the prime witness in indicting the boxer of the crime, revealed that Verdejo punched Rodriguez and injected her with drugs before dumping her from the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge into the lagoon, tied up with blocks. Verdejo then fired two missed shots after throwing her into the water.
After his indictment on May 10, Verdejo's wife Santiago Sierra and his mother, Madeline Sánchez Bonilla, were summoned to appear before a Puerto Rican Federal Court with regard to Rodriguez's murder. The newspaper El Vocero reported at the time that Sierra and Bonilla had appeared as witnesses. Members of a grand jury were to interview the witnesses to determine if there is sufficient evidence to file charges. The newspaper also noted that their attendance in court could have been for the filing of an ammended indictment, which is quite usual for criminal cases where additional charges are filed along the case proceedings.
The news had also contributed to the preexisting social media speculations surrounding Santiago Sierra's involvement in the murder or at least of her prior knowledge of Verdejo's plans to kill Rodriguez. Local media had also reported to speculations alleging her father's involvement in the murder. But it was Santiago Sierra's silence ever since Verdejo was dubbed person of interest in the murder that became the focal point of these speculations about her involvement. Santiago Sierra's legal defense team however has strictly continued quashing these rumors, reports Explica.
The team insisted that their client is not a suspect or even an investigation card in Rodriguez's murder. “She is not a card from the federal authorities,” said Eduardo Ortiz Declet, one of the lawyers on Santiago Sierra's defense team. Another lawyer, Pedro Rivera, mentioned in a television appearance: “This chain of speculative expressions can harm my client and those close to him. The best thing that could have happened was that she was summoned to this so that the whole world would know that after the investigation of the Police… more than 200 agents in conjunction with federal agencies, and these people are not cards or suspects… That it is very important that people understand this, that, at least, the people that we represent they are not suspected of any crime."
Urging the media and public to stop spewing these speculations without any evidence, Riviera added: “I believe that in cases like this, before issuing an opinion, one must know the facts and then express an opinion, because it is that speaking by speaking what you believe is what you have said, rumors, as we say here, bochinches and a disinformation that the people of Puerto Rico do not deserve and our clients do not deserve the attacks they are making on the networks and the supposed theories that we have all heard … one has to be very responsible."