Police Suspect Foul Play in Hanging Death of League City Mother of Four

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

League City police suspect foul play in the death of Giselle Salazar-Tapia, a mother of four found hanged late last month. Neighbors discovered her body hanging from a dock at the Wharf Marina on Friday afternoon, May 31. Lt. Eric Cox of the League City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division reported that she was partially submerged in the water.

The 30-year-old had been living on her boyfriend James Hart’s boat, docked at the marina since March. Cox indicated that detectives do not believe Salazar-Tapia hanged herself. Instead, they suspect her body was staged to appear as a suicide after she had died elsewhere.

“Her arm was found suspended in the air with nothing holding it there. We believe she probably passed away with her arm extended above her head, and then rigor mortis set in before she was placed in that position,” Cox explained.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office informed ABC13 that it would take several weeks to determine Salazar-Tapia’s cause of death as they await toxicology results.

“I want everyone to know my sister didn’t do this to herself. She didn’t commit suicide. We want justice for her. Whoever is responsible should be charged,” said Salazar-Tapia’s sister, Esperanza Alegria, to ABC13.

Cox mentioned that the department has identified two persons of interest in the case. “These are people she likely had close interactions with while living there, and both have been interviewed,” he said.

Hart told ABC13 that police have repeatedly questioned him following his girlfriend’s death, and he feels criminalized by both the department and the public. “I would never hurt Giselle,” Hart stated.

According to Hart, Salazar-Tapia left the boat to use the bathroom early Friday morning, sometime after midnight, and did not 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 claimed he didn’t know his girlfriend was dead until police recovered her body that afternoon. He noted that both of his surveillance cameras inexplicably failed before her death; one disappeared, and the other was manually turned away from his boat.

Cox told ABC13 that the department suspected foul play immediately upon recovering Salazar-Tapia’s body but is now releasing this information to encourage anyone with additional evidence to come forward. Detectives are currently reviewing close to 2,000 surveillance videos related to the case.

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

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