Texas resident John Poulos was extradited to Panamá to Colombia Thursday following his arrest at an airport in Panamá City on Tuesday
He’s accused of killing his 23-year-old Colombian girlfriend, Valentina Trespalacios
Poulos, 35, was taken into custody Tuesday while he was trying to board a flight to another country at an airport in Panama
Arrest came two days after a homeless man searching for recyclables in the south side of Bogotá discovered a suitcase with the body of Valentina Trespalacios
He’ was arraigned Thursday on charges of aggravated femicide, concealment, alteration and destruction of evidence in the death of his girlfriend Valentina Trespalacios
Trespalacios was found dead Sunday in a suitcase left in a dumpster in Bogotá
Autopsy report indicated Trespalacios was strangled with a rope and that her body was bruised
Authorities announced they were studying video showing Poulos placing a suitcase into the trunk of a car Sunday, about four hours before it was found in a dumpster
Immigration authorities in Colombia said suspect fled Sunday for Panama City
Poulos and Trespalacios had been dating for eight months, and he had plans of living in Colombia full time and marrying his DJ girlfriend
Authorities in Panama arrested the Texas boyfriend of a DJ who was found strangled to death and stuffed in a suitcase that was abandoned in a dumpster in the Colombian capital city of Bogotá.
John Poulos, 35, was taken into custody Tuesday while he was trying to board a flight to another country at an airport in Panama, according to multiple media outlets in Colombia.
His arrest comes just two days after a homeless man searching for recyclables in the south side of Bogotá discovered a blue suitcase which contained the body of local DJ, Valentina Trespalacios, 23.
Poulos is awaiting extradition to Colombia, where he will be charged with femicide, according to El Espectador newspaper.
On Tuesday Authorities in Colombia said they were studying surveillance tapes which showed a man hauling off and disposing of a case similar to the blue suitcase containing the victim’s body.
The surveillance video allegedly, reveals the moment Poulos placed a suitcase with the dead body of his DJ girlfriend into the trunk of a rental car before he abandoned it in a dumpster in Bogotá.
The man, allegedly John Poulos, was captured on camera lifting a suitcase that contained the body of his dead girlfriend, Valentina Trespalacios, inside a Volkswagen Voyager.
The suspect is seen pushing a food cart with the suitcase Sunday morning just after 10 am through the parking lot at the building where he had rented out an apartment he was to share with Valentina Trespalacios in the north side of Bogotá.
Poulos placed the cart near the left side of the car and walked down the garage and appeared to check to see if there are any other tenants in the area.
The male in the video pulled the cart near the trunk and at first struggled to lift the luggage bag, which he covered with a sheet, before he was finally able to put it into the trunk.
He then drove off and allegedly dumped the suitcase inside a construction waste container in the south side of Bogotá.
Additional security camera footage showed Poulos arriving at the eighth floor apartment with his luggage Thursday evening. The camera also showed Poulos with Trespalacios arriving Friday shortly after 7pm with her belongings.
Ultimately hes was turned over to Colombian law enforcement on Wednesday night and arrived in Bogotá during the early hours Thursday.
Poulos is facing charges of aggravated femicide, concealment, alteration and destruction of evidence.
He was scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday and arraigned for killing Trespalacios.
Poulos who was married and had three children in the United States met Trespalacios through an online dating app.
His ex reportedly had obtained a restraining order because he was violent.
Caracol TV reported Tuesday earlier reported that Poulos boarded a flight at El Dorado International Airport to Tocumen International Airport in Panamá City on Sunday following the gruesome discovery of Valentina Trespalacios.
Colombian authorities displayed a Turkish Airlines ticket purchased by the fugitive to travel from Panamá City, Panamá, to Istanbul, Turkey. The Texan also had a connecting flight to Montenegro.
Trespalacios’ remains was found on Tuesday, just days after she moved in with Poulos.in the capital Bogotá.
Trespalacios and Poulos have been dating for eight months after the couple met at an event Trespalacios had been hired to perform.
She reportedly changed residence on Friday, and moved into a home Poulos had rented in the northern side of the capital where they were expected to live together as they were in the early stages of planning to get married.
The couple spent the weekend dining and partying, and planned to visit her mother’s home before it all ended in tragedy.
An autopsy report indicated that Trespalacios was strangled with a rope and that her body was bruised.
Her family has called on the Colombian government to carry out an international search for Poulos, whom they believe is responsible for Trespalacios’ death.
As of Tuesday evening, the Colombian National Police was still canvassing the home where the couple had moved into and also searching for the 2021 Volkswagen Voyager that Poulos had rented after arriving from the United States.
Colombian National Police forensics team has been analyzing a surveillance video that shows a man tossing the suitcase inside the construction dumpster in the Bogotá neighborhood of Los Cámbulos before he disappeared.
Authorities have identified the person in the footage, which was only made public Thursday as Poulos.
Colombia’s Immigration agency confirmed Monday that Poulos had fled the country for Panama on Sunday, just hours after Trespalacios’ body was discovered.
The couple attended Sahara nightclub in Bogotá and the rideshare app driver who drove the couple there told Caracol TV that he sensed Trespalacios was in trouble when she showed him a message on the company app that said, ‘Help, I am in danger.’
The driver, whose name was not revealed by the outlet, said that Trespalacios started making hand gestures and Poulos arrived at the car and asked if everything was okay with her before she replied yes three times.
The couple got into the car and Poulos asked if he spoke English. The man replied that he did and added that Poulos remained quiet the entire trip. He said that Poulos and Trespalacios were exchanging messages on WhatsApp. He dropped them off at a club at 3:48 am.
On Friday, Valentina Trespalacios sent a video to her mother, Laura Hidalgo, showing the couple listening to music in a car driven by Poulos.
During the recording, Trespalacios aims the cellphone camera toward the back of the car and tells her mother that she had loaded all of her belongings and that she was going to go to her home Saturday.
Hidalgo told RCN Noticias that her daughter was going to move into an apartment with Poulos.
In an interview with Caracol TV, Hidalgo said that Poulos met Trespalacios at a party she was hired to play music at and that he planned to move to Colombia and marry her.
‘He had good intentions, he met us, her brothers, he had the intention of getting married, making a life here in Colombia with her, investing in Colombia,’ Hidalgo said. ‘He supposedly came all the way to Colombia, I don’t know what happened.’
According to a recently deleted LinkedIn page, Poulos was hired as a financial advisor by Vanguard in 2022.
The distraught mother described Poulos as someone who ‘didn’t come off as an aggressive person, he seemed calm, very calm.’
However, she noted that he had become jealous of Trespalacios.
‘He became very obsessed with my daughter and he was a little jealous. He had an argument in December with my daughter and it was out of jealousy because my daughter had many suitors because she was very beautiful.’
Trespalacios’ family said Poulos had deleted his social media pages and broke off all lines of communication with them.
Her uncle, Carlos Trespalacios, told Blu Radio that the couple appeared to be having a good time as evidenced by the photos that she shared of them smiling on her WhatsApp status feed.
‘She was in a suitcase, dismembered with the pajamas in which she usually slept and we are asking the authorities to speed up this part,’ he said.
‘She went out to party with her American fiancé on Friday and Saturday, so much so that she shared WhatsApp messages while at the nightclub. There is no doubt that they were (hanging out), so we want him to appear, to show face, to give us his version, to tell us where he left her, what happened to her?’
The victim’s younger brother recalled talking with his sister while she spent her first night at the apartment. Daniel Felipe Trespalacios, 13, told Caracol TV that their mother sensed something was not right when his sister texted her, ‘Mommy, life is not easy, everything has a price.’
‘My mom took it as the guy treated her badly or something and told her ‘daughter, you don’t need that, you don’t need to give us more, you already give us a lot,” he said.
The family Daniel said, had nothing but warm feelings about Poulos and never expected him to be involved in his sister’s murder: ‘He had already gone to Mexico with my sister,’ he said. ‘We did not distrust him because it seemed to us that too many things had happened to cause us to distrust. If he loved her as they say, he would be the first to be here showing his face to see what is happening with my sister.’