HARRISBURG, Pa. – A Pennsylvania man was being held on a parole violation while police in Peru investigate the death of his Internet bride, whose body was found in a suitcase fished out of the ocean.
Peruvian police consider William Trickett Smith Jr. a suspect in the death and are seeking, through Interpol, to bring him to Peru, according to Manuel Leon, a detective in the homicide division of Peru’s national police.
Smith, 26, of Harrisburg, met university student Jana Gomez Menendez de Smith, 21, over the Internet last year and married her in March, the woman’s family told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
The couple were married in Trujillo, Peru – the bride’s hometown – and lived for a time with her parents.
The victim told her parents in early July that she was taking a train to Lima to meet with Smith. She had her passport with her and hoped to move to Pennsylvania.
They never saw her alive again and reported her missing on July 26.
Smith, who has served time on drug and escape charges, was arrested on Aug. 24 for taking trips to Peru without informing his parole officer. He is being held in the Dauphin County Prison.
Authorities want to know how he funded the trips to Peru, Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr. said.
Smith’s father, former Dauphin County Republican chairman William T. Smith Sr., referred calls to attorney Don Bailey. Telephone messages left by the Associated Press at Bailey’s home and office on Sunday were not immediately returned.
Peruvian police believe the killer rented a boat and dropped the body into the ocean. They have not ruled out other suspects, Leon said.
The blue suitcase, which was tied with ropes and weighted down, surfaced in Barranco, near Lima, a day after an earthquake.
Smith was given a two- to four-year drug sentence in 2000 and was sentenced to more than nine months in prison for eluding police after a 2004 vehicle stop in Harrisburg.