CARACAS, Venezuela — Former boxing champ Edwin Valero committed suicide in his jail cell on Monday just hours after he was arrested in his wife’s killing, police said.
The former lightweight champion used his own clothes to hang himself in his cell early Monday, Venezuelan Federal Police Chief Wilmer Flores told reporters. He said Valero tied his clothes to a cell bar to hang himself.
He said Valero was found by another inmate, who alerted authorities in the police lockup in north-central Carabobo state. Valero still showed signs of life, but they were unable to save him, Flores said.
The 28-year-old was detained Sunday on suspicion of killing his wife, the gravest in a string of problems that had threatened to derail his career. Prosecutors said Sunday night that they had planned to charge Valero after they found the body of his 24-year-old wife in a hotel in Valencia.
The boxer left the hotel room around dawn Sunday and allegedly told security he had killed Jennifer Viera, Flores said.
The fighter was a household name in Venezuela and had a huge image of President Hugo Chavez tattooed on his chest, along with the country’s yellow, blue and red flag.
His all-action style and 27-0 record – all by knockouts – earned him a reputation as a tough, explosive crowd-pleaser. Venezuelans called him “Inca,” alluding to an Indian warrior, while elsewhere he was called “Dinamita,” or dynamite.
The former WBA super featherweight and WBC lightweight champion had been in trouble with the law before.
Last month, Valero was charged with harassing his wife and threatening medical personnel who treated her at a hospital in the western city of Merida. Police arrested Valero following an argument with a doctor and nurse at the hospital, where his wife was being treated for a series of injuries, including a punctured lung and broken ribs.