The family of a Texas woman killed by her estranged husband, who tied concrete around her neck and threw her from a bridge, confronted him in court to share how his act of savagery had forever changed their lives and the lives of his and her four children.
“You kidnapped her, you raped her and then you threw her away in the lake like nothing, and she was everything to me,” Alejandra Pule, the sister of Elizabeth Pule Arellano, said to Rodolpho Arellano in court Thursday. “We all trusted you. We all cared for you, and you betrayed us all.”
Elizabeth “Betty” Pule Arellano, 28, was found dead in Lake Worth after fishermen reported seeing something falling 40 feet from the Interstate 820 bridge on April 16, 2016.
The mother of four was still alive when she plummeted to her death, and witnesses reported hearing screams as she fell. A rope still attached to Elizabeth’s neck was connected to a 119-pound hunk of concrete.
Elizabeth, a medical assistant, had gone out with colleagues the night before her murder and called a co-worker to say she made it back safely to her parents’ house. But early the next morning her mother discovered her daughter’s car abandoned with her cellphone and purse on the passenger seat, and no signs of Elizabeth.
Her loved ones immediately knew something was wrong, but by the time they reported her missing, Elizabeth’s body had already been found. When her body was pulled from the lake, she was still wearing her maroon medical scrubs.
Elizabeth’s estranged husband, Arellano, told police he was home the night of the murder, and for a month he assumed the role of a grieving widower.
“You knew what you did, yet you stood in front of her body crying with me,” Elizabeth’s other sister, Johanna Pule, told Arellano in a Tarrant County courtroom Thursday.
She recalled being tasked with the macabre chore of shopping for the turtleneck in which her sister would be buried, as the rope marks left around her throat needed to be concealed.
“You told me the day of her burial that you wished that was you in there and how you wanted to just lay there with her. That when you married her, you knew it would be till death do you part, but didn’t know that it would happen so soon,” Johanna Pule said. “You’re a coward.”
But investigators quickly zeroed in on Arellano after surveillance video and cellphone data placed him near his parents-in-law’s home at the time of Elizabeth’s disappearance. Detectives also discovered pieces of concrete in Arellano’s back yard and pickup truck similar to what was used to weigh down Elizabeth.
Arellano long claimed to have had nothing to do with Elizabeth’s death, but last week he pleaded guilty to capital murder to avoid the death penalty. He instead will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Noting she believed no punishment would ever cover the devastation Arellano caused, Elizabeth’s sister Alejandra told him: “You are a monster. I hate you and I will never forgive you.”
Elizabeth and Arellano were high school sweethearts. They spent 12 years together before separating the week before Elizabeth’s death.
They had four children together.
“I had to tell them that their dad, the person who should have been their protector, killed their mom,” Alejandra said of her nephews and niece, now ages 7, 10, 12 and 14.
Elizabeth’s stepfather, Fidel Galvan, noted he asked the children if they had anything to say to their father.
“I don’t want to talk about my dad. He killed my mom, and I miss my mom,” Elizabeth’s 7-year-old son said before crying, Galvan said.
“I once thought he didn’t do it. Now that I know he did, I won’t say I love him or I hate him. I just want to say, why did he do it? Why?” Elizabeth’s 10-year-old son said.
Elizabeth’s 12-year-old daughter said it wasn’t fair that Arellano’s family could visit him in prison when they are unable to see their mother, while her 14-year-old son said he had nothing to say to his father.
Galvan ended with his own message for Arellano.
“I hope you rot in hell,” he said.