Authorities in Bogota, Colombia are charging an American named John Poulos in connection with the murder of 23-year-old Colombian DJ Valentina Trespalacios. The DJ was an up-and-coming figure in the local music scene at the time of her death.

John Poulos: an American in Colombia

Authorities confirmed Poulos, a Texas resident, was Trespalacios’ boyfriend.

Authorities arrested Poulos when they caught him trying to fly to Istanbul after fleeing to Panama. Consequently, Poulos is currently the only suspect in the case. Charges against Poulos involve Trespalacios’ murder pending an ongoing investigation.

As of now, local authorities believe Poulos killed Trespalacios’ in an act of jealousy. After the murder, the killer put Trespalacios’ body inside of a suitcase at the bottom of a garbage container.

Additionally, an extremely disturbing video allegedly shows Poulos putting Trespalacios’ body in the trunk of his car. She is already in the suitcase with a towel covering the suitcase to obscure her head, which was sticking outside of the case.


Poulos and Trespalacios first encountered each other at an event where Trespalacios was the DJ. The couple was reportedly together for approximately eight months and were even considering moving into an apartment together.

However, Poulos is an American, a married man, and a father of three who is also many years older than Trespalacios.

He even posed for a picture with former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Poulos’ six-year-old son Jackson survived a rare form of cancer. Subsequently, Ryan invited the Poulos family to meet with Jackson and his parents as distinguished guests.

After a while, Trespalacios’ family saw the signs

In an interview with Trespalacios’ mother published by Caracol, she said, “Many foreigners come to Colombia and she walks in a world where the rumba trade is very active, she met him there.” Additionally, she noted that Poulos did not appear to be an aggressive person. She also said she felt like Poulos “had good intentions.”

However, she also said “he became very obsessed with [her] daughter and he was a little jealous.” Adding, “He had an argument in December with my daughter and it was out of jealousy because my daughter had many suitors because she was very beautiful.”

DJ Valentina Trespalacios was a rising star in the Colombian music scene

Prior to her death, Trespalacios won the Breakthrough DJ of the Year award at the 2019 Colombian Dance Awards. A well-respected member of her community, many of her peers expected Trespalacios’ popularity to grow in the years to come.

Pablo Silva, the founder of the Colombian Dance Awards, said, “She was one of the most explosive rising stars in Colombia’s clubs. In 2019 she took home the Breakthrough DJ of the Year trophy and never stopped.”

Similarly, the creator of the Black & White electronic music festival, David Sarria, said, “We are shocked by the violent death of Valentina. She was a dreamer, a skilled DJ and potential producer who was working on several projects, including an album.”

However, fans of DJ Trespalacios knew her best as an integral part of the guaracha scene in Colombia. This subgenre of dance music combines elements of cumbia, tribal house music, and Latin rhythms. It is currently a huge phenomenon among younger clubgoers in Colombia, especially.