Boxer Verdejo charged with killing woman pregnant with his child

Puerto Rico's Felix Verdejo Sanchez arrives for his quarterfinal Men's Light (60kg) boxing match against Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko at the London Olympic Games August 6, 2012. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

May 3 (Reuters) - Boxer Félix Verdejo, who represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympic Games, has been charged in U.S. federal court with kidnapping and killing a woman who was pregnant with his child, authorities said.

Verdejo was taken into custody in Puerto Rico on Sunday for the murder of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, 27. He was charged with kidnapping and carjacking resulting in death and intentionally killing an unborn child, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Puerto Rico said in a statement.

Verdejo, 27, could face the death penalty if he is convicted.

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An attorney for Verdejo was not immediately available for comment.

An FBI agent wrote in a federal court affidavit that Rodríguez was killed on Thursday after she met Verdejo to request his help to end her pregnancy.

Verdejo punched Rodríguez in the face and injected her with a substance before throwing her body over San Juan's Teodoro Moscoso Bridge and into the San Jose Lagoon, the agent wrote.

Authorities issued a warrant for Verdejo's arrest after Rodríguez was reported missing and investigators interviewed a witness and reviewed surveillance-camera footage and cellphone records.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered at the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge near where Rodríguez's body was believed dumped into the lagoon. They called for justice for Rodríguez and more to be done to address a spike in gender violence in the U.S. island territory, the Washington Post reported.

"The pain, anger and indignation that we feel every time we witness a crime of gender violence has to be kept alive in us so that we do not rest in our responsibility to protect, prevent and abolish this evil," Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said in a statement on Sunday, three months after he declared a state of emergency to address the issue.

Verdejo fought in the lightweight division at the 2012 London Olympics. He has a record of 27 wins and two losses in the ring.

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Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney

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