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Boxer Felix Verdejo Charged After Woman's Dead Body Found in Puerto Rico

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2021

Puerto Rico's Felix Verdejo, right, punches Costa Rica's Bryan Vazquez during the fifth round of a lightweight boxing match Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. Verdejo won the fight. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Boxer Felix Verdejo faces multiple charges after Keishla Rodriguez Ortiz's body was found in a Puerto Rico lagoon Friday, according to officials.

Per Azi Paybarah and Jesus Jimenez of the New York Times, Verdejo faces charges of kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death and killing an unborn child. Verdejo could face the death penalty if convicted, though federal prosecutors have not determined if they will pursue that penalty.

According to the Associated Press, a complaint filed by the FBI says Verdejo punched Ortiz in the face and injected her with "an unidentified substance bought at a public housing complex." The complaint says Verdejo wrapped wire around Ortiz's arms and feet while also tying a heavy block to her before throwing her off a bridge. Verdejo allegedly shot at Ortiz's body from the bridge.

Ortiz's body was identified through dental records Sunday, per Puerto Rico's Institute of Forensic Science.

The FBI complaint also says there was an additional person involved in the kidnapping and killing of Ortiz.

After having been questioned by Puerto Rican police Friday regarding the disappearance of Ortiz, Verdejo turned himself in Sunday.

Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported the lightweight refused to answer any questions during his meeting with police.

Family members said Rodriguez was pregnant with Verdejo's child and met with him to tell him before she went missing. Verdejo is married.

Top Rank Boxing, which represents Verdejo, released a statement Saturday.

"Top Rank's thoughts and prayers are with Keishla Marlen Rodriguez Ortiz's family and friends, and with all those in mourning," the statement read, according to Okamoto. "We are deeply disturbed by the news reports, and we will continue to monitor developments in the case as it progresses."

Verdejo has a 27-2 record with 17 knockouts during his boxing career.

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