Mexico City nabs man in US flight attendant death

October 31, 2011 - 10:25 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police arrested a young man Monday for allegedly killing a US Airways flight attendant in his Mexico City hotel room and stealing his belongings and the safe deposit box.

Authorities said 20-year-old Jose Manuel Ramirez beat flight attendant Nick Aaronson and then strangled him with a belt. Police said the victim was 27, but other reports said he was 33.

Chief prosecutor Miguel Mancera said Ramirez and Aaronson arrived at the downtown Hilton early Friday and went to the room together. Mancera said the attack and theft happened shortly after that, but added that he did not know how much money was reportedly stolen and what was in the safe box.

Other US Airways flight attendants asked hotel employees to check Aaronson's room Saturday and his naked body was found lying on the floor, with his hands tied behind his back.

Mancera said Ramirez had a criminal record and had been released from a Mexico City prison in June. He said the suspect was identified after studying the hotel's surveillance videos.

When officers paraded Ramirez before journalists Monday, he told reporters that he had turned himself at the bar where authorities said he and Aaronson met.

Ramirez said with profane language that he only punched Aaronson twice but insisted he did not kill the victim. He claimed a 15-year-old friend was responsible for the slaying of Aaronson, who was based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Mancera said Ramirez will remain in custody of prosecutors before seeing a judge.