MEXICO CITY – A man arrested on suspicion of having murdered his Spanish wife last month in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas denies committing the crime, the state attorney general said Wednesday.
Jorge Fernandez “initially reserved the right to remain silent and later denied the allegations,” Irving Barrios said in an interview with leading Mexican broadcaster Televisa.
Authorities said Tuesday that they had arrested Fernandez as the main suspect in the murder of Pilar Garrido, who had lived in Mexico for about three years.
The probe into the murder of the 34-year-old native of Valencia, Spain, who went missing on July 2 in Tamaulipas and was found dead weeks later in a vacant lot, took a 180-degree turn on Tuesday.
Fernandez contacted police on July 3 to report that Garrido had been abducted the previous day as the couple and their 1-year-old son were returning to their home in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital, after a vacation in the Gulf coast resort town of La Pesca.
The husband told authorities that two armed men intercepted the family on the road and snatched Garrido at gunpoint.
But Barrios said Tuesday that authorities shifted the focus of their investigation after noting several contradictions in Fernandez’s account.
The state AG said Wednesday that the hour of departure and arrival provided by Fernandez were inconsistent with the normal time it takes to travel from La Pesca to Ciudad Victoria.
Barrios said Garrido had received a blow to the nose that caused her to lose her balance and hit her head on a hard surface, adding that once on the ground she was manually strangled.
He said that although there had been no prior incidents of domestic violence involving the couple, friends and neighbors of Garrido’s said that she had wanted to return to Spain with their son and open a business there.
Garrido’s skeletal remains were found on July 26 in Villa de Casas, Tamaulipas, where the woman was last seen alive.
“Mr. (Fernandez) drove off the road, delivered the blow, strangled (Garrido) and dumped the body just 20 meters (65 feet) from the highway,” the state AG said.