VENEZUELA -- Relatives from both sides of the family are speaking about the tragic events that took place over the past two days.
Undefeated boxer Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs) was arrested early Sunday morning for the murder of his wife Jennifer Carolina. Valero took his own life on Monday morning in a jail cell in Carabobo. The head of the CICPC (Office of Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations), Wilmer Flores, issued a statement that Valero hung himself using his own clothes. Valero still had vital signs when they cut him down but they couldn't save him.
Valero's wife had been found dead in a hotel room in Valencia with three stab wounds. Valero made a confession to the murder shortly after it happened. He was taken, without incident, to a police station in Carabobo.
"Edwin Valero went down to hotel reception and made a confession that he killed his wife, so the hotel staff immediately called police, who later confirmed the death in the room," said the general director of the CICPC to BoxingScene.com on Sunday.
Kenya Finol, Carolina's cousin, says Valero made a call after his wife had been killed and claimed she was murdered by underworld thugs.
"When he called, he sounded like he was drugged. In a real quiet tone, he said Jennifer was dead in a hotel room in Valencia, and that she had been killed by some thugs who had been pursuing them," Finol said.
The story Valero gave to his wife's family was the exact story Valero gave to police in Carabobo, according to a source who was present in the police station.
"I did not kill her. We were being pursued by some thugs and they killed her," Valero was quoted as saying by the source.
Valero would also tell police that he was very high on drugs and could not remember exactly what happened. He remembered finding his wife's body, but he couldn't remember much of anything else or how she was killed.
Jennifer Carolina's uncle, Evelio Finol, said Valero did not go crazy overnight. He described him as a very violent person who had the entire family living in fear. Nobody was willing to say anything against him because the fighter had political backing. More revealing was the entire family keeping quiet while Valero was forcing his wife to take drugs.
The uncle's story rings true when comparing the recent events. Valero had recently beaten his wife, causing multiple injuries that sent her to the hospital on March 27. The wife, along with her family, swept the beating under the rug by telling police the injuires were caused by a slip and fall accident on a flight of stairs. Because of their story, charges were dropped against Valero and he was released from police custody.
"[We never said anything because] we were threatened with death. We have to take the blame for what happened [for not speaking up earlier], but so do the authorities of this country and President Hugo Chávez. Because Valero was an athlete, he received preferential treatment, so they too are responsible for what happened," Evelio Finol said. "Jennifer's death can not go unpunished. If he would have been sent to mental hospital, they would have said he wasn't crazy. He was keeping Jennifer on drugs since January when they lived in Caracas. He forced her to take them, or else he would have killed her, her children and her mother. During the 10 years of marriage, she was always under threat of death."
Eloiza Vivas, Valero's mother, blames the legal system of Venezuela. She says the system failed her son, who was very ill from over a decade of drug and alcohol abuse.
"The authorities of this country are responsible for everything. It's true that I have to take the blame for not saying anything, but Edwin was very ill. He was using drugs since age 18 and drank a lot," Vivas said.
There are now conspiracy theories in Venezuela that Valero was so high from a combination of drugs and alcohol that he may have mistakenly killed his wife during a extreme hallucination and, once the high wore off and began to realize what had happened, he took his own life.