US citizen John Nelson Poulos, 35, is the main suspect in the death of Colombian DJ Valentina Trespalacios, who was his girlfriend and whose body was found dismembered inside a suitcase in a garbage container in the Los Cámbulos neighborhood, west of Bogotá, on Sunday, January 22.
according to a report of the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Colombia, the body of Trespalacios, 23, presented “signs of strangulation and concealment maneuvers”in addition to multiple blows to the face and body.
Colombian authorities confirmed that Poulos had fled to Central America the same day his partner was found dead.
Two days later, on January 24, the American was captured at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama, following an Interpol alert issued from Colombia. So, the Panamanian Police reported that Poulos “intended to travel on flight 0904 of Turkish Airlines, bound for Istanbul-Turkey“.
He had arrived in Panama on Monday, January 23, from Bogotá “on Avianca flight 056,” detailed the Panamanian National Police.
Poulos John was handed over to Colombian authorities, to be extradited and face justice, after his possible link to the murder of DJ Valentina Trespalacios.
The American was captured by Panamanian authorities when he tried to leave the country to Istanbul. pic.twitter.com/wCZlRFUy1o
— Panama Migration (@migrationpanama) January 26, 2023
After his arrest, the main suspect in the murder of Trespalacios was deported to Colombia on Wednesday.
The Medellin Cartel?
At the time of his arrest, Poulos gave an unofficial statement, with which he tried to explain his departure from the South American country. According to his version, the Medellín Cartel would be behind the murder of his girlfriend and would also try to kill him, he reported. The viewer.
However, it is widely known that this cartel, which originated in the 1970s and whose founder and top leader was Pablo Escobar, dissolved in 1994.
During the capture legalization hearing, which took place between Thursday night and Friday morning, the American’s defense said that the man feared for his life due to media exposure of the case.
“The foreign citizen insists or is concerned about security, at this moment he fears for his life, which is why the case has been highly publicized,” said the defense, according to a quote. The Colombian.
Given this, they insist, “the request that the citizen makes is that from now on his life be safeguarded and, being under the orders of the State, he requests that this security be kept in order to guarantee his life.”
At that hearing, the defense requested the annulment of the capture of Poulosarguing that the authorities had made procedural errors and violation of fundamental rights at the time of his apprehension, due to the hours he was held at the Tucumen airport until he was handed over to Colombia.
However, the guarantee control judge responded that the US citizen’s rights were respected at all times, so the defense request was unsuccessful.
Among the evidence that the Colombian authorities have against Poulos is several videos. In one of them it is observed when he allegedly took the lifeless body of Trespalacios from his apartment inside the suitcase, and put it in the trunk of the car.
This is how John Poulos took the lifeless body of Valentina Trespalacios out of her apartment and put it in the trunk of the car and then threw it in a dump in Fontibón. According to forensics, they attacked her while she was sleeping. How painful. pic.twitter.com/A5yYIi5WVh
— Catalina Suárez B. (@CatalinaSuarezB) January 26, 2023
In another, a man – who would be the suspect – is seen throwing the suitcase in which the DJ’s body appeared into the garbage container. According to the record, the subject would have fled aboard a gray car.
In addition, it would have been confirmed that it would be he who threw the cell phone of the Colombian DJ in a garbage can from the El Dorado International Airport of Bogota.
“It was found at a specific site. It was also handed over to the Attorney General’s Office for analysis and they remain in chain of custody,” said the commander of the Bogota Metropolitan Police, Carlos Triana.
Likewise, after his arrest and during a photographic search to leave evidence of the procedure, Poulos was seen a scratch on the left side of his facepossibly the product of a struggle.
Added to this, the Police have pointed out, testimonials from friends and family which point out that Poulos was possessive and jealous of Trespalacios.
It also circulates in Colombian media the testimony of a driver from the InDriver travel application, who had transported the couple to a nightclub in Bogotá and pointed out that the woman had asked for help.
“They were both drunk and when she gets on she screams and says: ‘Oh, why did I write this’ and I look at the InDriver support that wrote ‘help, I’m in danger’. I look at her and say ‘are you okay?’ and she starts waving while the man gets in the car, ”she commented.