A Texan Fugitive, His DJ Fiancée, and a Corpse in a Suitcase

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Policía Nacional

Photograph Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Each day Beast/Getty/Policía Nacional

CAUCA, Colombia—American citizen John Poulos, 35, was arrested by Interpol officers final week in Panama for the alleged homicide of his fiancée, a celebrated DJ from Bogotá. The physique of Valentina Trespalacios, 21, had been found in a dumpster on Jan. 22 within the Fontibón district of the Colombian capital, based on the general public prosecutor’s workplace.

Trespalacios’ stays had been stuffed right into a “blue plastic-coated journey suitcase, which was correctly packed in a white plastic bag,” Semana journal reported officers as saying, and the physique had been discovered by a homeless man rooting within the trash. Prosecutors additionally famous that Trespalacios’ cellphone had been present in a rubbish bin on the Dorado Worldwide Airport in Bogotá.

Authorities listed Trespalacios’ explanation for dying as “mechanical strangulation” and added that the post-mortem indicated she had additionally had intercourse along with her killer shortly earlier than her dying. There have been additionally bruises on her lips, cheeks, again, and arms.

Texas native Poulos was nearly instantly extradited to Colombia, the place the divorced father of three denied all prices.

Poulos was attempting to board a flight from Panama to Turkey when he was apprehended, in accordance to Colombian police, who additionally revealed photos of the tickets allegedly in Poulos’ possession on the time. His ultimate vacation spot was apparently Montenegro, which doesn’t at present have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

How Did This Couple’s Holiday End With a Woman Gunned Down?

The homicide of the favored DJ, who was a fixture at golf equipment across the nation, has brought on such widespread outrage in Colombia that the lawyer representing Poulos determined to quit the case this week because of the variety of dying threats he’d obtained.

The sufferer’s brother Daniel Trespalacios, who can be performing because the household spokesperson, advised The Each day Beast that his sister had been “very considered from a younger age.” He additionally stated the notable DJ was “our [family’s] monetary help” and that she had “dreamt of shopping for our mother a home some day.”

The oldest of the 4 Trespalacios siblings, Daniel additionally described his sister as a “warrior” who was “very centered on her future.”

Eva Manjarrez, a Medellin-based school pupil who was a part of Trespalacios’ circle of musician buddies, advised The Each day Beast: “I all the time paid consideration to her exhibits. I admired her a lot and I used to be shocked that sooner or later she is performing and the following day they discover her in a rubbish container… It hurts so much. The complete creative union of DJs and [her] different buddies are outraged.”

Manjarrez additionally stated that Trespalacio had advised her she was keen on her “novio” (fiancé) and excited for his or her wedding ceremony and subsequent life collectively.

“What I do know is that Valen[tina] cherished him very a lot,” Manjarrez stated.

In response to the sufferer’s household, Trespalacios and Poulos met through the courting app Tinder about 10 months in the past. Poulos, who’s reported to have been a monetary adviser, had subsequently made a number of journeys to Colombia the place he made a superb impression on her family members.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>John Poulos held by the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Office of the Attorney General of Colombia</div>

John Poulos held by the Workplace of the Legal professional Normal of Colombia.

Workplace of the Legal professional Normal of Colombia

“He appeared like a pleasant particular person,” stated household spokesperson Daniel, who helped police determine photographs and video of Poulos, ultimately resulting in his seize in Panama.

“He took my mom and my two little brothers to eat as soon as at a restaurant in an excellent neighborhood in Bogotá. And he seemed to be a superb man. He promised my sister that he would come again to get married,” Daniel stated.

However earlier than the marriage, Poulos started to show indicators of jealousy, based on prosecutors.

At a listening to earlier this week, prosecutor Daniel Gómez Acuña stated Poulos had hired a private investigator to observe his betrothed as a result of “suspicions” of infidelity he had in regards to the relationship.

“Poulos had sexual relations with Valentina Trespalacios and proceeded to violently beat Miss Valentina’s physique together with his personal fists, after which he put stress together with his fingers round her neck till she died,” stated the prosecutor.

The prosecutor additionally accused Poulos of seeing the sufferer as “his private object” and “that’s the reason he… managed her actions, her private friendships, [and] monitored her [social media] networks.”

Allegedly provoked by the reviews from the detective he’d employed, Poulos returned to Colombia once more on Jan. 19. He’d advised Trepalacios and his household that he was coming to purchase an condo and relocate to Bogotá after the marriage. However the household now says that was only a cowl story he’d invented to arrange an act of foul play towards their daughter.

“He stated he’d come to get married, that he was going to purchase an condo and nicely, all that was a lie,” stated Daniel. “He advised my sister they might solely keep there for one or two months, whereas they appeared to purchase an condo. However now we all know from the investigators that wasn’t so. He had additionally rented a automobile for less than [the same] three days. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”

Daniel stated that Poulos picked the sufferer up at her household dwelling on Friday alongside along with her baggage and drove her to the Airbnb rental. Trespalacios later carried out a present that very same night time at a membership referred to as Nexus, earlier than returning to Poulos’ condo.

“It was my 13-year-old brother who [last] contacted her earlier than her dying,” Daniel stated. “At 11 p.m. on Saturday, they’d a video name till 12 a.m. Then nothing is thought till 2 p.m. on Sunday when [she’s found] in a dumpster in Fontibón.”

Daniel was away from dwelling that day when his stepfather got here to select him up. “Once I get within the automobile he tells me: ‘They killed your sister.’ I stated: ‘Who killed her, who did that to her?’

“He advised me: ‘It was that gringo son of a bitch,’” Daniel stated.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>John Poulos is arrested by Panamanian National Police.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Policía Nacional de Panamá</div>

John Poulos is arrested by Panamanian Nationwide Police.

Policía Nacional de Panamá

“The extra we all know, the more serious it’s, as a result of my sister’s final moments have been very arduous,” he stated. “Think about that vast man on high of her, choking her… After which he put her within the suitcase. Think about it. She’s skinny however she’s tall and that suitcase is tremendous small. Poor factor. He will need to have damaged her bones to place her in there,” including, “He’s an animal, that man is the worst.”

Poulos has been charged with femicide—outlined as “the killing of a girl or lady, particularly by a person and on account of her gender”—which might end in a minimal 40-year jail sentence if he’s convicted (Colombia doesn’t have the dying penalty).

Retired U.S. Federal Agent Mike Vigil, who has spent a long time stationed in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America, stated that investigators within the area usually take a lax stance towards crimes towards girls.

“Authorities in Latin America are sometimes dismissive of femicides,” Vigil stated, describing as “an acceptance of poisonous masculinity” in native legislation enforcement.

Trespalacios’ movie star might need spurred Colombian legislation enforcement to better policing efforts as a result of public outcry. Within the wake of Trespalacios’ homicide, social media customers wasted no time in comparing security-cam feeds of Palacios’ physique stuffed into the suitcase with pictures from Netflix’s well-liked Jeffrey Dahmer sequence, during which the titular character may be seen utilizing an analogous suitcase for a similar function.

“If he hadn’t had something to do with it, he would have stayed right here to indicate his face and to help us and discover out what had occurred with my sister,” stated Daniel, who vows to see his sister’s assassin face justice.

There are different urgent considerations for the household proper now, particularly as a result of Valentina’s musical abilities have been the household’s predominant supply of earnings.

“We’re humble, we don’t have cash,” Daniel stated. “I actually didn’t know what to do or the place to go.”

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