Martin Manrique, a Mexican citizen, has been arrested for the killing of his Mexican ex-girlfriend, Cecile Denise Acosta Reinaud, in India, a police spokesman told Efe on Wednesday.
“Mr. Manrique has confessed that he ended her life during an argument with the deceased over custody of their 6-year-old daughter,” Madurai police chief Bala Naga said.
The 36-year-old Acosta, who had dual French-Mexican citizenship, threatened to take the little girl to France, triggering a fight that ended with the 40-year-old Manrique stabbing her to death, the police chief of the southern Indian city said.
Manrique told investigators that he stuffed the body into a trash bag, hauled it to the outskirts of Madurai and set fire to the remains to erase evidence.
“Police found the body on April 11, but they could not identify it,” Naga said, adding that Manrique was already under suspicion because of his delay in reporting the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and refusal to file a missing person report.
Manrique reported Acosta missing on April 14 and said he had last seen her five days earlier, when he left her as she boarded the bus that would take her to her home in neighboring Kerala state.
The suspect had custody of the little girl and Acosta visited her regularly.
Acosta’s family told the Mexican Embassy on Tuesday that she had arrived in India in August 2011, two months after Manrique, and was studying dance.
Indian police had searched for Acosta, an anthropologist and yoga instructor, in Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.
Manrique has been “contacted by telephone already” and “will be provided with the necessary consular assistance” to ensure that his rights are protected as the investigation proceeds, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretariat officials told Efe.
Acosta’s relatives have been contacted so they can be assisted in case they decide to travel to India, the officials said.
The Mexican Embassy initially handled Acosta’s disappearance as a missing person case and worked with police in Madurai.
Indian officials have assured the Foreign Relations Secretariat that Manrique will have access to consular assistance and the case will be handled “in accordance with the law,” Mexican officials said.
Acosta’s family had confirmed on Tuesday that the missing woman was dead.