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Jurors view Aguirre interview video

By Katherine Wartell

The capital murder trial of Luis Aguirre continued Tuesday with the state showing jurors video of the first interviews between Riley County detectives and Aguirre, conducted in the weeks after the bodies of his ex-girlfriend and son were found in a shallow grave in Ogden.

Initially in the interview, RCPD Det. Ryan Runyan does not inform Aguirre, 24, accused of murdering Tanya Maldonado, 18, and their 13-month-old son, Juan, that police have already found their dead bodies. Instead he tells Aguirre that Maldonado is missing.

Aguirre first tells Runyan that Maldonado, who is from Chicago, had never been in Kansas, but later admits that she had been in his Ogden apartment on Sep. 21, 2009 after he had picked them up from a Chicago mission where they had been staying.

In a Nov. 3 interview, Aguirre told Runyan that on the night of Sep. 21, Maldonado and Juan had had dinner in his apartment and that an argument between himself and Maldonado erupted after she refused to stop doing the dishes when he told her to rest.

Aguirre told Runyan that during the fight he slipped on the floor, pulling Maldonado down with him. He said he covered her mouth after she started yelling “help” and “rape,” and though she pushed him off, he covered her mouth once more after she started yelling again, eventually causing her to stop breathing.

In the video he also told Runyan that when he went to check on Juan he found that he was hanging slightly off the bed, so he re-tucked him. When he next checked on him, he found Juan lifeless, having been tucked too tightly.

Aguirre, who had been living in Ogden with a new girlfriend, Dulce Mendez, and her son, said he panicked and was too scared to call the police because he knew he would be questioned and he had Mendez’s son to think about. Aguirre had been the named as the caretaker for Mendez’s son while she was deployed in Iraq.

In court, jurors were shown about 3.5 hours worth of interview footage taken from the initial interviews conducted in Austin, Texas, where Aguirre had moved after leaving Ogden in October 2009.

The state also called Mendez and Maldonado’s aunt, Sylvia Ortiz, to the stand.

Mendez told jurors that she met Aguirre in a training school in Alabama and that they moved in to an apartment together in February 2009 after she was assigned to Fort Riley. She told jurors that after she deployed in August 2009, the plan was for Aguirre to take her son down to Texas to live with her family in Austin.

Ortiz told jurors that Aguirre and Maldonado met when he was working as a lifeguard at Humboldt Park beach in Chicago. That meeting took place in the summer of 2007.

Their testimony followed that of several experts Monday afternoon. Those experts were involved in determining the identity of Maldonado and her son and the maternity and paternity of Juan.

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