CLARIN (Argentina), PERU 21 (Peru)
A Peruvian man is behind bars for allegedly raping and strangling to death his teenage girlfriend, a reality TV participant whose on-air confessions police say led to her murder.
The victim, 18-year-old Ruth Thalía Sayas Sánchez, earned 15,000 Peruvian soles (about $5,800) for her recent appearance on El Valor de la Verdad (the Value of Truth), a Peruvian reality TV show that asks participants to share intimate secrets about themselves.
During the show’s pilot episode, the young woman told host Beto Ortiz that she didn’t really work in a call center, as she’d led friends and family to belive, but as an exotic dancer. She also confesed she’d received money for sex, and said that she was embarrased about her Andean roots, Argentina’s Clarin reported.
Just over two months after the show aired, Sayas Sánchez went missing. Ten days later, police located her lifeless body in a makeshift grave on the outskirts of Lima. Authorities say the victim’s 20-year-old ex-boyfriend, Bryan Barony Romero Leiva, confessed to the crime, admitting he drugged, raped and then strangled the young woman.
Sayas Sánchez’s mother, Vilma Sánchez, confronted Romero Leiva several days before the murder was confirmed. “I went to his house and got down on my knees. I asked him to tell me if he know where she was. He told me he had no idea. I hope they lock him up,” she told the Peruvian daily Perú 21.