TEXAS CITY

The night that ended with Pablo Padilla dead began with drinks at a bar between two roommates.

Less than a day after Padilla’s body was found on a Texas City sidewalk, the roommate, Juan Carlos Ramirez-Vargas, was arrested and accused of concealing evidence of the murder from police.

Documents released Thursday revealed how the Texas City Police Department connected Ramirez-Vargas to Padilla’s death. The documents also left some questions about the killing, including what motive Padilla’s killer might have had.

As of Thursday, no one had been charged in Padilla’s death. However, the charging documents filed against Ramirez-Vargas, 26, paint him as possibly the last person to see Padilla alive, and they accuse him of hiding bloody pants and boots in his apartment that police discovered while asking him questions about Padilla’s death.

Padilla’s body was found on a sidewalk on 6th Street in Texas City at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Texas City Police Department. He was found lying on the ground with a large wound to his neck, according to the police complaint.

Police identified Padilla by his fingerprints and by public records that pointed them to an address on 52nd Street in Galveston, where he and several other people, including Ramirez-Vargas, rented rooms, according to the complaint.

Ramirez-Vargas was at the apartment when police arrived there to look for evidence and told police that he and Padilla gone to two bars in Galveston the night before.

Ramirez-Vargas said he last saw Padilla at The Albatross bar on 21st Street and that he had left the bar before Padilla, according to the complaint.

When investigators checked the security camera video from the bar, it told a different story, police allege. The video showed the men arriving together about 10:20 p.m. and then leaving together after drinking together, according to the complaint.

Ramirez-Vargas was arrested after police reviewed the video, according to the complaint.

Other evidence also connects Ramirez-Vargas to Padilla, police allege.

Police found mud on the floor of Ramirez-Vargas’ truck, which investigators said they suspect matches mud from the spot in Texas City where Padilla’s body was found, according to the complaint. Padilla’s body was found near an empty field, just south of Texas Avenue.

Police have not said how long his body was there before it was found.

After watching the security video, police searched Ramirez-Vargas’ apartment and found a pair of pants behind a couch. The pants were covered in blood, according to the complaint. Police also found a pair of blood-covered boots under a bed. The boots had been pushed an “unreasonable distance from where someone would normally store their footwear,” according to the complaint.

In interviews with police, Ramirez-Vargas denied he and Padilla had left the bar together, according to the complaint.

Ramirez-Vargas told one detective that he left the bar after Padilla made sexual advances toward him, according the report.

A police department spokesman declined Thursday to comment about whether that remark was being investigated as a possible motive for Padilla’s death.

Ramirez-Vargas was charged Tuesday with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and was still in custody at the Galveston County Jail on Thursday afternoon. He was held on $125,000 bond on the felony charge, according to jail records.

Ramirez-Vargas was also placed on an immigration detainer, according to the records. The hold means that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had flagged Ramirez-Vargas as a person who may be in the country illegally.

Once the charges against Ramirez-Vargas are resolved and he is eligible to be released from jail, immigration authorities have 48 hours to take him into federal custody for possible deportation proceedings, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(1) comment

Randy Chapman

Yep, they just come here illegally to better their lives...

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