Fort Worth

Man accused of tossing wife off bridge will face death penalty trial

Closer look at Lake Worth bridge where a woman was killed

Police say Elizabeth Arellano was tied to a weight and thrown off the Lake Worth Bridge on April 16. Her estranged husband has been arrested on a capital murder warrant.
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Police say Elizabeth Arellano was tied to a weight and thrown off the Lake Worth Bridge on April 16. Her estranged husband has been arrested on a capital murder warrant.

Tarrant County prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the man accused of kidnapping his wife and killing her by throwing her body from the Lake Worth bridge in April.

Rodolfo Montes “Rudy” Arellano, 34, of Fort Worth, is accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Pule Arellano and tying a rope that was attached to concrete around her neck and throwing her off the bridge.

He remains in the Tarrant County jail with bond set at $500,000 on the capital murder charge, jail records show.

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty on Sept. 16, records show.

The last person to get the death penalty in Tarrant County was Cedric Ricks of Bedford, who was convicted in 2014 for killing his girlfriend and her 8-year-old son. He remains on Death Row.

Fishermen on a Lake Worth dock had called 911 at 3:20 a.m. April 16 — some 10 hours before Elizabeth Arellano, a 28-year-old mother of four, was reported missing —after seeing what appeared to be a person falling from the bridge across Loop 820.

When the Fire Department's swift-water rescue team pulled the woman's body from the water, Elizabeth Arellano's body was still clad in maroon scrubs she wore as a medical assistant.

Ten days after her disappearance and death, police arrested her estranged husband on a capital murder warrant.

Family members say the couple had been sweethearts at Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School and had been together 13 years. The couple recently separated, however, and Elizabeth Arellano had planned to divorce him.

When initially questioned about Elizabeth Arellano's disappearance by police, Arellano “did not appear to be concerned or worried about his wife's disappearance,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Arellano told homicide detectives that he last saw his wife two days before she died and that he last spoke to her at 2:39 a.m. on the day she disappeared.

He said she told him in that phone call that she had just arrived at her parents' house and would soon be bringing their four children to his house.

Arellano said that when his wife and children never arrived, he assumed she had decided to stay at her parents' home.

Asked about his whereabouts that night, Arellano told the detectives he had spent most of the evening of April 15 with a friend, tinting the man's windows. He said he arrived home about midnight and didn't leave the house again until 7:30 a.m.

Through interviews, investigators learned that Arellano had torn down and replaced a wooden fence for an acquaintance within the past year. The fence included wood posts set in concrete.

In the back yard of Arellano's Fort Worth home in the 1400 block of Jasper Street, police found pieces of concrete similar to the one used to weigh down Elizabeth Arellano's body.

In the bed of his pickup, they uncovered a small piece of concrete consistent with that found at the crime scene. A large piece of concrete was also found in the driveway directly behind his truck, the affidavit states.

This story contains information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3