By Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera
El Paso Times
Lisbeth La Liz Nayeli Rodrguez Alanis, 22; Vctor Alfonso El Gordo Cano Molina, 24; and Antonio Tarango Montes, 60, were arrested by Chihuahua state authorities in connection with a kidnapping on July 5.
Chihuahua state investigators on Wednesday detailed a puzzling web of events they say led to the kidnapping and eventual slaying of a U.S. citizen who was employed at the U.S. District Court in El Paso.
The investigators said kidnappers originally wanted a $10,000 ransom for the victim, but when his captors realized that he had identified a woman with whom he had held a five-year relationship, their plan changed violently.
Authorities found the victim's body in an abandoned house in Juárez the day after he was kidnapped.
Chihuahua state authorities began investigating the incident as a homicide earlier this month, and on Wednesday they arrested three people in connection with the kidnapping and slaying.
The victim's name was not released by Mexican authorities, but federal courthouse officials in El Paso said they were informed that Jorge Dieppa, 57, a court interpreter for more than seven years and a part-time lecturer at University of Texas at El Paso's department of language and linguistics, had been killed recently in Juárez.
UTEP officials also confirmed that Dieppa was killed in Juárez, but neither federal courthouse officials nor UTEP disclosed further information.
Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman with the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office, said he was not authorized to release the victim's name or say whether the victim was Dieppa. FBI officials could not confirm whether Dieppa was the victim but said an investigation was taking place.
The U.S. Consulate in Juárez could not confirm either that the kidnapping victim was a U.S. citizen or that he had died.
"At this point we cannot confirm if this person was a U.S. citizen. We first have to verify the information with Mexican authorities," said U.S. Consulate spokeswoman Olga Bashbush. "If he's a U.S. citizen, and he's a victim of crime, we will first contact the family before we make any information public."
According to a news release from Chihuahua's prosecutor's office, state authorities arrested three suspects, Lisbeth "La Liz" Nayeli Rodríguez Alanis, 22; Víctor Alfonso "El Gordo" Cano Molina, 24; and Antonio Tarango Montes, 60. One more suspect is being sought.
Rodríguez Alanis and Cano Molina, who were wanted by the prosecutor's office's kidnapping unit, were arrested Tuesday by state authorities who were responding to a fight in the city's south side.
Tarango Montes was arrested later that evening. An El Paso man who identified himself as Tarango Montes' son-in-law but didn't reveal his name said he learned of the man's arrest Wednesday.
"There is no way this guy was involved in any of these things," he said about Tarango Montes. "He didn't do anything. He's 60 years old."
He said that Tarango Montes had worked as a cabinet builder in Hawaii for many years and that he had lived in Juárez with his wife for more than a decade.
According to the state prosecutor's office, the three suspects were wanted in connection with a man's kidnapping on July 5.
The suspects allegedly decided to kill the man because he recognized Rodríguez Alanis, with whom he'd had a five-year relationship, the news release said. It said the victim had met Rodríguez Alanis at a bar where she worked as a dancer.
On July 6, authorities found the victim's body at an abandoned house in Juárez. The body had multiple cuts on the neck, his face was covered with gray tape and his arms and legs were tied with electric wire and a belt, the release said.
Tom Hilburger, divisional office manager at U.S. District Court in El Paso, could not confirm that the recent killing of Dieppa in Juárez was related to Tuesday's arrest of the alleged kidnappers.
However, he said Dieppa, a Spanish-English interpreter, last showed up for work on July 5.
"He was outstanding employee and interpreter. We are all very sad. He was just a great guy," Hilburger said.
In addition to his courthouse and UTEP duties, Dieppa was a sword instructor at Hsin Lu Tao Academy of Martial Arts.
Academy staff said they had no comment on Dieppa's death, but according to the academy's website, Dieppa held the title of sensei and specialized in the Japanese art of drawing and cutting with a sword.
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Dieppa said the family had no comments at this time.
One of Dieppa's neighbors said she could share no more than what the family was willing to release but said, "Whatever it is, it's being hushed to protect somebody."