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Wife of Adam Anhang Captured in Spain

Published by on July 19, 2013

Associated Press – A woman accused of hiring someone to kill her wealthy Winnipeg-born husband on the U.S. Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was arrested Sunday in Spain after being sought for five years in the alleged murder-for-hire scheme.

Moises Quinones, the FBI’s spokesman in Puerto Rico, said Aurea Vazquez Rijos was arrested by the Spanish police at an airport in Madrid.

The Puerto Rican suspect was taken into custody as she was getting off a flight from Italy, where she has lived for years and gave birth to another man’s twins.

A U.S. grand jury charged Vazquez in 2008 with offering a man $3 million to kill her husband, real estate developer and Winnipeg native Adam Anhang.

She denied the charges but refused to co-operate with investigators and fled Puerto Rico for Italy, where she lived in Florence and more recently Venice.

Abe Anhang, the victim’s father, said authorities told him that Vazquez’s sister and her former husband have also been charged and arrested in Puerto Rico in connection with his son’s killing in 2005.

“We’re hopeful that after such a long time that justice will be done,” Abe Anhang said by telephone from his home in Winnipeg. “It’s been almost five years since she’s been a fugitive in Italy.”

Abe Anhang spoke to the Winnipeg Free Press Monday.

“Five years is a long time, a very long time. She had a very good vacation in Italy,” he said of Vazquez.

“We were very relieved and pleased because we think justice will now be done.”

He said the past eight years were hard on him.

“As a parent, it’s agonizing. You lost a child,” he told the Free Press Monday.

“We’re heading towards closure. We see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re now relying completely on the American judicial system.

“It was the FBI and the U.S. Attorney‘s Office who were able to bring this around. They’re the ones who’ve done an incredibly good job.”

After Adam Anhang’s murder, Vazquez refused to co-operate with investigators and filed a civil suit against her late husband’s family, seeking $1 million in damages and millions more from his estate. A judge in Puerto Rico dismissed her suit.

Anhang, 32, was beaten and stabbed to death in a popular tourist district of the Puerto Rican capital in September 2005 as he walked with Vazquez.

She sustained minor injuries in the attack.

A wrongfully convicted Puerto Rican man spent eight months in a maximum security prison for the high-profile slaying of Anhang before getting released in June 2008 after another man, Alex Pabon Colon, was indicted for the murder. Since then, the FBI has been working to arrest Vazquez but ran into difficulties since Italy does not extradite suspects who face the death penalty.

“I sat through that first trial, and I felt they had the wrong man. I was the one who went to the FBI and asked them to look into,” Abe Anhang told the Free Press.

According to the 2008 indictment, Vazquez offered Pabon money and lured Anhang to the tourist district the night of his death. The indictment said two other unidentified people were involved in the plot.

Anhang had developed beachfront condominiums and hotels in Puerto Rico and also was CEO of an online gambling software company based in Costa Rica. He had moved to Puerto Rico a year before the attack.

The FBI said the extradition process from Spain could take between six and nine months. The U.S. agency said the arrest of the Puerto Rican fugitive was the result of a joint effort between the FBI’s legal attaches, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico, Spanish police, Interpol and U.S. Department of Justice.

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