John Poulos, the American investor who abandoned his wife and three children in Texas to pursue a virtual romance with a 21-year-old DJ from the Colombian capital, maintains his “innocence” in the chilling murder of Valentina Trespalacios.
Appearing before a judge for the second time since his arrest on January 24 this year, Poulos steadfastly refused to accept the criminal charges of aggravated femicide and concealment of evidence leveled against him, despite hours of surveillance footage from the Attorney General’s Office. The lifeless body of Valentina Trespalacios was discarded inside a municipal garbage container in a low-income neighborhood near Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport.
Photos taken at the dumpster, just hours after Poulos boarded a flight for Panama, show the head of the young woman protruding from a blue suitcase that was bound in industrial tape, and personal travel item that Poulos allegedly entered the country with on January 19.
The suitcase, as well as text messages recovered from Trespalacios’ iPhone, were presented by the prosecutor as evidence during Poulos’ arrest. A conviction could result in a 60-year prison sentence for the 35-year-old American.
Prosecutors assert that Poulos and Trespalacios, who began dating online for almost a year before his first trip to the Colombian capital, engaged in sexual intercourse before he strangled her in the early hours of January 22. The couple had rented an apartment in the north of Bogotá and were planning on moving in together. After meeting on the dating app Tinder, Poulos had expressed interest in marrying Trespalacios.
According to the state’s medical and judicial forensics entity – Medicina Legal – Trespalacios presented extensive bruising to her neck and ruptured breast implants. “I am not going to accept the charges, and I maintain my innocence,” stated Poulos to the judge in a case that has captivated the media’s attention, both in Colombia and the United States.
As Poulos left the Airbnb, he is seen on closed-circuit monitors pushing a shopping cart where the lifeless body of Trespalacios had been placed inside the suitcase, covered in a blanket to hide her face. He then placed the luggage inside a VW sedan and drove to Los Cambúlos in the locality of Fontibón. Surveillance cameras captured the grey rental car as it moved through Bogotá and is seen parking near the dumpster. One of the car rental employees confirmed Poulos had scratches on his face at the time he returned the vehicle at International Departures.
Poulos has given few details as to the events that led to Valentina’s death, including their clubbing at a discoteque in Bogotá’s south, and search on arrival in the country, to find “Tusi” a synthetic drug known as “pink cocaine.”
Panamanian authorities apprehended the suspect on January 24 at Tocumen International Airport, as he was boarding a Turkish Airlines flight bound for Istanbul. The fugitive had also purchased a second ticket to Montenegro, a country that lacks an extradition agreement with Colombia.
Poulos was extradicted back to Colombia under a heavy police escort and has been incarcerated at La Picota maximum security prison in Bogotá since late January.
Source : thecitypaperbogota