Rafael Crespo raped and murdered Anjeanette Maldonado (17): Homicide City investigates

Mugshot of Rafael Crespo
Rafael Crespo admitted after 16 years that he had murdered Anjeanette Maldonado. Pic credit: Philadelphia PD

This week on Homicide City, the team looks at a cold case rape and murder from 1996 in Philadelphia. Schoolgirl Anjeanette Maldonado was brutally raped and murdered by Rafael Crespo; however, it took 16 years to bring him to justice.

On September 30, 1996, seventeen-year-old Anjeanette, an aspiring artist, was on her way to school when she vanished without a trace.

Two days later, her body was discovered in the early hours of October 2 in an abandoned Philadelphia house. She was stripped naked and had been beaten and strangled.

The case remained dormant and unsolved for sixteen years until 2012 when the authorities finally received a match from a test done on DNA retrieved from Anjeanette. The DNA was tracked to Rafael Crespo, who was already serving time for a sexual assault in Florida.

The Pennslyvania cops traveled to Florida to interview Crespo, who promptly admitted to being involved in her death.

Rafael Crespo admitted to choking Anjeanette Maldonado

The killer claimed that after a night of hard-drinking, he encountered Maldonado on her way to school and offered her $20 for sex, to which she supposedly agreed.  Crespo says that after the pair had sex in the abandoned house, she asked him to choke her.

Crespo told the detectives that when he started choking the teenager, her body went limp, so he got scared and fled the scene.

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The police and a judge determined that there was nothing consensual about Anjeanette’s interactions with Crespo. He was charged with rape and murder.

Judge Minehart said at sentencing: “Her life was just starting and you brutally murdered her and dumped – dumped her like a piece of trash – in an abandoned house.”

Crespo was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge also added another 15 to 30 years for the sexual assault charges.

More from Homicide City

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on Homicide City.

Miguel Alvarez was jealous of his cousin’s relationship with Philadelphia DJ Alberto Martino, so he enlisted the help of his cousin Roberto Alvarez to kill Martino. The pair attacked Martino on the street, violently beating him before shooting him dead.

Thomas Strode attacked his 21-year-old student girlfriend Asia Adams by stabbing her in the neck and head; he then beat her with a shovel. After she was dead, Strode and his accomplice, Simeon Bozic, tried to hide the crime by setting fire to the apartment.

Homicide City airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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