Franklin man murdered DJ girlfriend in Colombia, stuffed body in suitcase: prosecutors

A Franklin man is accused of killing his girlfriend, a popular DJ in Colombia, at an Airbnb and stuffing her body inside a suitcase before trying to flee the country.

The body of Valentina Trespalacios, 21, was found in a blue suitcase wrapped with tape and thrown into a dumpster near an airport in Colombia’s capital city of Bogota, the New York Post reported.

It was determined Trespalacios, who was a popular DJ with 16,000 followers on Instagram, was killed by "mechanical asphyxia" or "strangulation."

John Nelson Poulos, the 35-year-old boyfriend of Trespalacios who had met her on a dating app last year, left Colombia for Panama days before her body turned up, prosecutors say. Police say the woman's body was found by a homeless man looking for scraps. 

"He saw this head popping out of a suitcase and immediately alerted the police. He could have just walked away," said Richard Emblin, Bogota reporter.

Poulos was arrested Jan. 24 as he was about to board a flight to Montenegro, a country that does not have an extradition agreement with Colombia or the United States.

Poulos, who is said to be married with three kids, reportedly told police he was fleeing the country to escape from a drug cartel and says the cartel is responsible for the death of Trespalacios.

In his mugshot, a visible scratch can be seen on Polulos' face, and El Pais reported that Trespalacios' family said he was "jealous and controlling" and hired a private investigator to track her movements last year. 

Poulos has been charged with aggravated femicide.

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"He was the one who hurt my daughter, and he doesn't deserve to be around like if nothing happened. I want justice done," Laura Hidalgo, Trespalacios' mother, said, according to Daily Mail. "It is not fair that a foreigner comes to excite a Colombian girl and ends up like this. I hope this case does not go unpunished. He was the last person to see her alive, and he didn't have to hurt her."

On Thursday, Feb. 2, his attorneys described Poulos as a proud father of three with no prior convictions and no prior issues in his relationships.

"This defense has one very important request, and this is that the safety of my defendant is guaranteed," said Poulos' public defender.

His estranged wife said that characterization of Poulos is far from the truth, sending this statement to FOX6 News: 

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