BOGOTA – Authorities in Colombia are investigating the death of 23-year-old Valentina Trespalacios, whose boyfriend and American citizen of Greek descent, John Poulos, was arrested in Panama on January 24 and placed in Colombian custody on January 26. He was arrested after “an Interpol alert given by the Republic of Colombia for the homicide of DJ Valentina Trespalacios,” according to the Panama National Police.
As the British Daily Mail reported on January 31, the defense attorney for the 35-year-old from Wisconsin quit the case because he received death threats – while the court interpreter also quit due to inaccurate translations.
CNN reported that in the early hours of Sunday morning, January 22, a street sweeper found the body of a woman in a suitcase at the bottom of a garbage bin in the southwest of Bogota, Colombia’s capital. He alerted local authorities, who confirmed that the body was that of Trespalacios, a well-known electronic music DJ.
Officers of the Metropolitan Police of Bogota who were at the scene contacted her relatives, who confirmed that the young woman had been with her boyfriend since January 21.
Preliminary forensic examinations by the Institute of Legal Medicine, an agency under the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, revealed that the young woman probably died of mechanical asphyxiation and that her body bore signs indicating that she had been subjected to violence before she died.
On the evening January 24, the Panamanian National Police reported the arrest of Poulos at Tocumen International Airport and Colombian authorities began procedures to deport him to the country, hoping to shed light on the time, manner, and place in which Trespalacios’ death occurred, CNN noted. Poulos was deported to Colombia on January 26.
“She never behaved like a bad person… My Valentina was a very smiling and happy young woman. She lived in the world of rumba,” Laura Hidalgo, the victim’s mother, told local media outside the Bogota morgue.
“He was living in the United States and he came to marry her. They were going to share a life together and to do the papers for it,” she added.
Police and Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office have been analyzing several hours of security camera footage of the premises where the young woman and her boyfriend were from Friday night until Sunday morning, when her body was found.