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Félix Verdejo-Sánchez And Luis Antonio Cádiz-Martínez Indicted For Carjacking And Kidnapping Resulting In Death, And Intentionally Killing An Unborn Child

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Today, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Félix Verdejo-Sánchez and Luis Antonio Cádiz-Martínez for federal crimes arising from the murder of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, announced United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Rafael Riviere-Vázquez, and  Domingo Emanuelli, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Justice. The FBI is in charge of the investigation with the close collaboration and support of the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.

Félix Verdejo-Sánchez and Luis Antonio Cádiz-Martínez are facing one count of carjacking resulting in death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2119(3) and (2); one count of kidnapping resulting in death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1201 (a)(1) and 2; and one count for killing an unborn child, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1841and 2, also known as the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004” or “Laci and Conner’s Law.” In addition to these charges, Félix Verdejo-Sánchez is facing one count for using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i).

The indictment includes a Notice of Special Findings concerning relevant facts and factors that make the case eligible for the death penalty:

  • Each defendant intentionally killed the victim (Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz).
  • Each defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that it involved serious physical abuse to the victim.
  • Each defendant committed the offense after substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of the victim.
  • Félix Verdejo Sánchez procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value.
  • Luis Antonio Cádiz-Martínez committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in the expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value.

“Keishla Rodríguez-Ortiz was taken from a family that loved her, and she and her child were denied the most fundamental right of life, and the joy of knowing what that life could have been,” said United States Attorney Muldrow. “We hope that this process brings some measure of solace to Keishla’s family. This case also underscores the message of cooperation with law enforcement that I have been repeating to the community – If you have knowledge of criminal activity, even if you are a participant in that activity, do the right thing and come forward to authorities. The prosecutors and the law enforcement agencies that have worked tirelessly, and who continue to assist in the ongoing investigation of this case, are to be commended.”

“The FBI is proud to have worked alongside our colleagues of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico on this case,” said Rafael Riviere-Vázquez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office. “Our hearts go out to the grieving families and as always we urge citizens to speak up and report criminal activity by calling 787-987-6500 or leaving a tip online at Tips.FBI.gov”.

“I recognize the teamwork and efforts of the seven prosecutors and the chief prosecutor assigned to this case alongside the Puerto Rico Police Bureau,” said Domingo Emanuelli, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Justice. “The message is clear and forceful. Whoever violates the law, threatens the safety, and lives of women, will pay.”

“We continue to work hand in hand with our partners at the local, state, and federal level to bring justice to Keishla. Our aim is to get to the bottom of this case and to process those responsible for this crime,” said Alexis Torres, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety. “We owe it to Keishla, to her family and to the people of Puerto Rico. Rest assured that the DSP will not rest until justice is served in this case and all others in our jurisdiction.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Gottfried, Chief of the Violent Crimes and National Security Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanette Collazo.

The statutory penalties for violations of the kidnapping and carjacking statutes include life imprisonment or the death penalty, and life imprisonment for the intentional killing of an unborn child. Verdejo-Sanchez is also facing up to a sentence of life for the firearm violation, which must be imposed consecutively to any other related offense of conviction.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.