Police suspect foul play after mom of 4 found hanged off Texas dock

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024
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LEAGUE CITY, Texas -- Texas police suspect foul play in the death of a mother of four found hanged late last month.

Neighbors discovered Giselle Salazar-Tapia's body hanging from a dock at the Wharf Marina in League City on the afternoon of Friday, May 31.

Lt. Eric Cox of the League City Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division explained that she was partially submerged in the water.

The 30-year-old had lived on her boyfriend James Hart's boat, docked at the marina since March.

Cox said detectives do not believe Salazar-Tapia hanged herself. Instead, they believe her body was staged to appear as though she had after she died elsewhere.

"Her arm was found suspended up in the air, and there was nothing holding it there. So, we believe she probably passed away with her arm extended up above her head like that, and then rigor mortis had set in prior to her being placed like that," Cox said.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office told our Houston sister station, ABC13, it will take several weeks to determine Salazar-Tapia's cause of death as they await toxicology results.

"I just want everyone to know my sister didn't do this to herself. She didn't commit suicide. We just want justice for her. We want whoever is responsible, who did this to my sister, we want them to get charged for what they did to her," Salazar-Tapia's sister Esperanza Alegria told ABC13.

Cox said the department has identified two persons of interest in the case.

"They're people that we know she probably had the closest interaction with while she was living out there, so they have both been interviewed," he said.

Hart told ABC13 that police have repeatedly interviewed him following his girlfriend's death, and he feels criminalized by both the department and the public.

"I would never hurt Giselle," Hart said.

According to Hart, Salazar-Tapia left the boat to go to the bathroom early Friday morning, sometime after midnight and didn't return. He said he checked the bathrooms and then went back to bed.

"I assumed she had gone for a few days," he explained.

Hart told ABC13 he didn't know his girlfriend was dead until police recovered her body that afternoon. He said he was unable to watch what happened after she left the boat because both of his surveillance cameras inexplicably failed before her death. He said one disappeared, and the other was turned by hand to face away from his boat.

Cox told ABC13 the department suspected foul play immediately upon recovering Salazar-Tapia's body but is now making the information public in hopes that anyone with additional evidence step forward. He said detectives are combing through close to 2,000 surveillance videos linked to the case.

Cox also told ABC13 that the department had been called to the boat several times for disputes involving Salazar-Tapia, which neighbors corroborated.

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