A man tied a massive 8.5-pound slab of concrete around his estranged wife’s neck threw her in a lake to die.
Rodolfo Arellano, 36, pleaded guilty on Wednesday the murder of his 28-year-old wife, Elizabeth, in Lake Worth, Texas on April 16, 2016.
Arellano was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole – although prosecutors originally sought the death penalty.
Relatives said the couple had been together for 13 years and had four children, but Elizabeth was planning to divorce her husband, according to the Dallas News.
She was staying at her parents’ house in Fort Worth and was kidnapped as she returned from a night out by her husband, who was hiding outside the house waiting for her, police say.
Elizabeth’s mother later found her car nearby, with her purse and phone inside and her key still in the ignition.
Rodolfo then drove his wife to a highway bridge, tied the massive chunk of concrete around her neck, and tossed her into the lake below.
Rodolfo Arellano threw his wife off this bridge in Lake Worth, Texas in April 2016
‘One witness described hearing what sounded like screams on the way down,’ police said.
According to authorities, she was still alive when she hit the water. Elizabeth died of ‘drowning with the weight tied around her neck,’ a medical examiner ruled.
A water rescue team pulled Elizabeth’s body out of the lake hours later after witnesses told police they saw someone fall of the Interstate 820 bridge.
Police originally ruled the death a suicide, but when the body and concrete slab were recovered, it was determined that Elizabeth had been murdered.
Rodolfo was arrested ten days later and initially denied his involvement, but surveillance video confirmed that he was hiding outside her house at the time of her kidnapping.
Police also found matching slabs of concrete in Rodolfo’s truck and yard.
In court Wednesday, defense attorney Richard Henderson called his client’s plea deal the ‘correct resolution’ to a difficult case.
Prosecutor Allenna Bangs added that Elizabeth’s family was comforted by the conviction and sentence.
‘The idea that he is going to admit it and he is going to say that it is him and that he is guilty brought them such a level of peace,’ she said.
‘Elizabeth Arellano was a mom and a daughter and a sister and friend and the people who love her know that they can’t have her back.
So knowing that he is in prison for the remainder of his natural life and that is not going to change and knowing the comfort that brought them is what puts us where we are today.’