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US Army soldier who allegedly killed girlfriend in Mexico may be extradited

A photo of military boots during the deployment ceremony for the Alabama Army National Guard 128th Military Police Company leaving for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bob Gathany/HVT/TNS)
February 01, 2024

Spc. Saul Luna Villa, 23, a mortarman with the 1st Armored Division, is not expected to challenge extradition in relation to charges that he murdered Aylin Valenzuela, 19, in Juarez, Mexico, on April 7, 2023. 

Villa has been charged with aggravated femicide by prosecutors in Mexico. According to Stars and Stripes, Villa is facing military charges in relation to the case. However, details on those charges have not yet been made public.

Lt. Col. Kimbia Rey, the division spokeswoman, declined to provide further information regarding any military cases against Villa, stating, “Fort Bliss and 1st Armored Division are aware of the notification of provisional extradition of Spc. Saul Luna received from Mexico to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Army does not comment on ongoing litigation.” 

Villa, originally from Wisconsin, has been stationed at Fort Bliss for the last two years. Aylin, who was studying to become a lash technician, previously lived in El Paso, TX, with her former husband before returning to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, to live with her mother, Ysabel Valenzuela. Villa and Aylin reportedly met on Facebook. 

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On the evening she was murdered, Aylin told her mother that she had plans to meet Villa. According to ABC, Villa spoke to Ysabel and asked her to babysit Aylin’s children. Despite the strict rules barring soldiers from crossing the border, surveillance footage from the Cordova Bridge shows a black GMC truck, similar to the one Villa owns, entering Mexico on the same day.

Aylin hired a driver from Uber to take her to meet Villa. In a statement to the police, the Uber driver recalled Aylin meeting a man in a white t-shirt driving a black GMC truck. Ysabel stated that she received a photograph of her daughter in a truck on the night she was murdered, followed shortly by a telephone call from Villa asking if Aylin had arrived home safely. 

Police received a report of a body in Juarez’s Anahuac neighborhood later in the evening of April 7, which was later identified by Ysabel as being Aylin. An autopsy revealed that Aylin had been stabbed and shot in the head. Surveillance footage from a house neighboring where Aylin’s body was found recorded footage of a black GMC truck parking, after which a man in a white t-shirt removed a bundle from the truck, placed it on the ground and drove away. 

U.S. Marshalls arrested Villa on September 23, 2023. Villa appeared in an El Paso court earlier this year, filing a motion to appeal an extradition order to Mexico. His appeal was denied.