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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bloodstained sneakers found at house of policeman who killed himself

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa

By John McPhaul

A pair of sneakers with apparent blood stains and a service revolver were found in the house of Puerto Rico Police agent José Miguel Centeno Sánchez, who took his own life earlier this week when his home was about to be raided by investigators from the Criminal Investigations Corps of Aguadilla with the support of technical units and the SWAT.

Investigators searched the house on Pakistan Street in Aguadilla’s Guerrero neighborhood with a court order on Monday afternoon, according to a report by El Vocero.

It was presumed that the sneakers were the same ones Centeno Sánchez was wearing at the residence of his godparents Idelfonso Janeiro Rodríguez, 83, and Angélica Adorno Cruzado, 77, whose bodies were found on the night of Oct. 11, bound, gagged and shot in their home on highway PR-112 in the Arenales Bajos neighborhood of Isabela.

Both the sneakers and the pistol have been sent to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Río Piedras for analysis, along with ballistics tests of the .40-caliber bullets that were also found in the house.

Centeno Sánchez had emerged as a suspect before his identity was corroborated by fingerprints. Two days before the vicious crime, he had been at his godparents’ house washing the roof, El Vocero reported. Upon news of the couple’s death, he did not appear at the wake or tell investigators that he had a relationship with the victims, to the surprise of some. The conduct raised suspicions, which were corroborated when fingerprints found at the scene were compared.

The crime is presumed to have been a robbery, but it has not been determined what the alleged perpetrator may have taken. Relatives of the victims found two bearer checks, which were hidden, for the sale of land for a sum of more than $200,000.

Rodríguez, who authorities believe was in the bathroom of his home when the killer entered, kept several thousand dollars in cash which he used to gamble at a casino in Aguadilla, according to the El Vocero report.

Although there were no witnesses, investigators theorize that when Centeno Sánchez, who was masked, asked the octogenarian for the money, the strong-willed man recognized him by his voice. After being recognized, Centeno Sánchez allegedly shot Rodríguez.

Meanwhile, investigators searched the two-story house of Centeno Sánchez for two weapons that were stolen from Rodríguez, but they were not found.

Centeno Sánchez, 55 years old and the father of two adult daughters, had worked in the Bayamón region until 2017. He lived alone and was known to have a friendship with the couple he allegedly murdered, whom he visited and helped around the house. He was paid for his work.

Centeno Sánchez was apparently in a tight economic situation.

When SWAT officers knocked on the door of the officer’s home early Monday morning to announce they were serving a search warrant, the suspect turned on the light in his room, police said. Then he extinguished it, and the fatal shot with which he took his life was heard. The SWAT officers forced open the door and entered the room where the officer’s body lay on the floor and the gun next to him. The body had a gunshot wound to the temple.

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa told the STAR on Tuesday that the “operation is still open and we are checking to see if there were external collaborations in the incident.” “He [Centeno Sánchez] does not represent all of the honest and hardworking policemen who put their lives on the line for all of us,” he added.

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