U.S. Tourist Kidnapped and Brutally Slain in Puerto Rico
A Puerto Rican man whose mother once slit the throats of two children was charged Thursday with killing a pregnant U.S. tourist in the same way after stuffing her in the trunk of his car.
Eliezer Marquez Navedo also faces two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping after police said he ambushed the woman while she jogged in the eastern coastal town of Fajardo.
“He opened the trunk, he waited for her to pass by and he forced her into the trunk,” said Antonio Lopez, Fajardo’s police investigations chief.
Marquez, who could face up to life in prison, walked into court with his head down for a closed hearing in which the charges were announced. He did not enter a plea and does not have a lawyer yet.
“Justice is being done for this victim,” prosecutor Francisco Sanchez said outside court. “In this case, there will be no negotiation. He will face the full consequences.”
Police said Marquez admitted abducting Sara Kuszak after seeing her jogging alone.
She used her cell phone to make a desperate call for help from the trunk of her kidnapper’s car Wednesday, about an hour before she was found dead. The FBI then used the signal from the phone to help locate the suspect, whose shirt and pants were covered with blood at the time of his capture.
Marquez’s mother, Ines Navedo, was convicted of slashing the throats of a brother and sister, ages 2 and 3, in 1992, and served seven years in prison before being released on parole with an electronic ankle bracelet for good behavior. She originally was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Relatives of the victims told authorities that Navedo attacked the children because she was angry the family had shunned her after learning she apparently was HIV positive, said retired police officer Pablo Roman, who investigated the case.
A jury later found her guilty of second-degree murder because she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Roman said.
Navedo violated her parole once for using drugs in 2005 and was ordered to undergo treatment, said parole board president Gloria Ortiz.
Marquez has seven children, two with the woman he was living with, and five with a woman he is married to, police officer Arsenio Rodriguez said.
“He told me he felt bad because he didn’t know (Kuszak) was pregnant,” he said. “He was crying and telling me he was sorry because he has a daughter and knew he had made a big mistake.”
Kuszak, 35, who moved to Savannah, Georgia, from San Francisco about five years ago, arrived Tuesday night in Puerto Rico, where she met up with her fiance and several friends.
Kuszak, who worked on sailboats and part-time in real estate and catering, was five months pregnant, friends said.
Friend John Everette said he got to know her better after spending three weeks on a yacht with her, her fiance, Cheshire McIntosh, and a couple other friends.
“She made sure that everybody else was happy,” he said. “If somebody was by themselves, she always made it a point, I noticed, that she would go and talk to them and make sure they were included in the group. …
“She was a charismatic force of nature. It’s a terrible tragedy.”