CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arrested on Friday morning during a live broadcast at the site of the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis, after clearly…
It was clear from a young age that Adam Anhang had business in his blood.
Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Adam even showed up on his first day of kindergarten with a briefcase so he could be just like his attorney dad, Abraham.
He was destined to make his whole family proud.
Adam was ambitious throughout his education.
He became editor of the student paper at his university, as well as a competitive member of the fencing team.
After studying business, he went into real estate and set up his own consultancy business.
Adam focused on revitalising run-down neighbourhoods and ended up investing in properties on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, becoming part-owner of a holiday resort.
Adam built up his wealth to around $24 million (£18 million).
Money didn’t change Adam, and what made him really special was his generosity.
Far from building his success on being ruthless, Adam was the person people went to for advice.
He helped struggling businesses and was constantly there for his friends.
Above all, he always did the right thing.
His family suspect that’s how he ended up being married to Aurea Vazquez Rijos.
Adam, 32, met the glamorous Aurea shortly after arriving in Puerto Rico.
She was a former Miss Puerto Rico Petite.
They started dating and moved in together in late 2004.
It’s reported that Aurea told Adam she was pregnant and, coming from a devout Catholic family, marriage was the only option.
Adam did the right thing, and in March 2005 the couple married in a small ceremony.
He didn’t tell most of his friends or his family.
Did he know they wouldn’t approve of the speed of their marriage?
Being a smart business man, Adam arranged for Aurea to sign a prenuptial agreement the day before the wedding.
Feared for his life
Soon after the wedding, Adam found out there was no baby, but he was committed and determined to make his marriage work.
He allowed Aurea’s family to move in with them, and generously showered his new wife with lavish gifts, including a new car and even a local nightclub called The Pink Skirt.
Adam’s family were convinced Aurea saw him purely as her meal ticket.
And before long, Adam himself realised his marriage was destined to fail.
After just six months, Adam told Aurea it was over and asked for a divorce.
He told friends he was worried about how Aurea would react to the break-up, especially as he believed she had connections to some unsavoury characters.
Adam hired a bodyguard, but it seemed Aurea was keen to keep things civil between them.
She called him over 10 times to try to persuade him to have dinner with her, so they could talk through the finer details of their divorce.
On 22 September 2005, Adam and Aurea had dinner at the Dragonfly restaurant in the cobbled historical district of Old San Juan.
When they left, they headed in the direction of where Adam had parked his car, but as they walked along, a man leapt out of the shadows with a knife.
Adam did his best to defend his wife.
‘Run, baby, run!’ he cried, as the attacker plunged the blade into him.
Aurea was violently knocked to the ground, before Adam was smashed over the head with a loose cobblestone.
As the assailant fled, Adam was left dead on the ground and Aurea was badly shaken with minor injuries.
At the time, Puerto Rico was suffering from a wave of violence.
Crime rates were high and it was thought Adam and Aurea had been victims of yet another robbery.
But things didn’t add up…
Adam’s family discovered that his attacker, supposedly motivated by robbing him, hadn’t taken any money.
The only person who really benefited from Adam’s death was Aurea.
The prenuptial agreement stated that she would get around $360,000 (£275,000) in a divorce – but as a widow, she could claim almost all of his fortune.
Straight away, they believed Aurea had arranged Adam’s death.
She had failed to turn up for questioning several times, and Adam’s friends said he had grown fearful for his life.
Aurea was undeterred by the rumours and, six months after Adam’s death, she tried to sue his grieving parents, demanding a share of his estate and insisting she’d been cheated out of what was rightfully hers.
Her claims were dismissed.
Adam’s family were certain Aurea was involved, but the problem was they couldn’t prove it and the police were on the wrong track.
Local witness descriptions led officers to a dish-washer called Jonathan Román Rivera.
He was arrested, charged and, in 2007, he was sentenced to 105 years in prison for Adam’s murder.
But he was innocent.
Jonathan would spend eight months behind bars before he was cleared and released.
A tip-off led police to arrest a man called Alex Pabón Colón, and in 2008, he confessed that Aurea had promised him $3 million (£2.3m) to murder her estranged husband.
Alex said on the night of the killing, Aurea had lured Adam to the prearranged spot for the fatal attack.
It was a huge breakthrough, as Alex pleaded guilty to murder and fully cooperated with police – but by then Aurea had bolted and become a fugitive.
What followed was a cat-and-mouse game that would last years.
On the run
In 2006, Aurea fled to Italy – a country infamous for its tough extradition laws.
Adam’s family hired a private detective to track her down.
She travelled across borders, changed her name, dyed her hair and lived openly as a tour guide.
She met an Italian man and fell pregnant with twin girls who were born in August 2008.
Mothers of Italian children are unable to be extradited.
But the FBI were hot on Aurea’s trail and the European press dubbed her ‘The Black Widow’ due to her history.
The father of Aurea’s twins discovered she was on the run and left her, and now has custody of the girls.
Together, American and Spanish authorities worked on a ‘sting’ to capture Aurea.
They created a fictitious travel operator and lured Aurea to Madrid with the promise of a job.
Aurea took the bait, and when she caught a flight to Spain in June 2013, she was arrested upon landing.
But the drama continued.
Incredibly, while in custody in a Spanish prison, she became sexually involved with an inmate who was serving time for drug charges and became pregnant.
If it was yet another attempt to avoid extradition, it failed.
In 2015, when the baby was one month old, they were sent back to Puerto Rico.
Aurea was behind bars and the baby was taken into care.
Finally, Aurea was able to go to trial, and she wasn’t alone.
Thanks to the confession by hired attacker Alex, police were able to connect Aurea’s sister Marcia and Marcia’s ex-boyfriend José Ferrer Sosa to Adam’s murder.
All three had approached Alex about the ‘job’.
After even more legal problems, the trial began in August 2018.
The court heard that Aurea, now 38, Marcia and José had met with Alex to arrange the attack.
Aurea had lured Adam to dinner on the night he was killed – and José had called Alex to tell him where and when to strike.
Making sure he knew Adam had to die.
Adam’s family had to listen as witnesses described how Adam had fought to protect the very woman who had arranged his death.
Witnesses also said Aurea watched as her husband was murdered – then appeared to remind Alex to push her to the ground to injure her enough to back up the robbery story.
After the attack, Alex had written letters to Aurea trying to get the money, but Marcia wrote back saying they didn’t have it.
After all, they were supposed to pay him with the money they expected to get from Adam’s estate.
In October 2018, Aurea, Marcia and José were all found guilty.
‘I’m innocent and time will prove it,’ Aurea cried.
At the sentencing in March 2019, all three were given life in prison.
‘Are you happy now?’ Aurea snapped to Adam’s dad as she was led away.
He replied, ‘Shut up.’ Abraham had worked tirelessly to get justice for his son for over a decade.
At last, after 13 years, Aurea was transferred to a prison in Fort Worth, Texas, but it’s no surprise her lawyers say they plan to appeal.
Aurea has been trying to get her own way since she set her sights on Adam, and her motive was greed.
But no matter how far she ran, her past would always catch up with her. ■
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