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Dragged woman came to U.S. for better life
POSTED: 5:42 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2006
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GLENDALE, Colorado (AP) -- Luz Maria Franco Fierros would sometimes tell a friend over breakfast about getting so angry with her live-in boyfriend that she wanted to kill him.

The boyfriend, Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, is now in jail, accused of killing Franco Fierros by wrapping a rope around her neck and dragging her behind a vehicle for more than a mile. The slaying left a bloody trail through a bucolic suburb south of Denver.

Franco Fierros, a fast-food worker whose body was found Monday, was identified by her fingerprints matched to Mexican voter registration records.

Neighbor Zulma Pulgarin lived down the hall from the couple, and the two women shared breakfast almost every morning at Pulgarin's apartment.

"She was very happy," Pulgarin said Friday. "I don't know what happened."

But, she said, there were hints of trouble. Franco Fierros, 49, admitted that the quarrels with her boyfriend occasionally got physical, although she claimed she always landed more blows than he did. The spats were always brief, Pulgarin said.

"Sometimes she would say to me, 'I want to kill Jose,"' she said. The next day, the fight would be over, and Franco Fierros would be happy again, she said.

Lt. Mike Gross of the Glendale Police Department said his department has no record of any domestic disputes at the couple's apartment.

Authorities in Douglas County, where Franco Fierros' body was found, have said little about the investigation, and the affidavit filed to obtain an arrest warrant has been sealed by a judge. Rubi-Nava, 36, is scheduled to appear in court Monday to hear the formal charges filed against him.

His public defender has asked a judge for a gag order in the case.

Franco Fierros knew her boyfriend had a wife in Mexico, but she didn't care because he was nice, Pulgarin said.

The relationship between victim and suspect began last year, according to Pulgarin. She said the pair met at a Denver nightclub last fall, shortly after Franco Fierros arrived from southern Mexico.

Pulgarin said she hardly knew Rubi-Nava, a construction worker, but he always had a smile and a wave for her.

In the Mexican city of Chilpancingo, about 130 miles south of Mexico City, one of Franco Fierros' three daughters said she spoke with her mother almost daily, and there was never any talk of difficulties with Rubi-Nava.

Despite their frequent talks, Anel Leyva Franco said, she knew little about him.

"We want to know what really happened because no one deserves this," 27-year-old Leyva Franco said Friday.

Franco Fierros left behind two other daughters, ages 31 and 26; and a 17-year-old son.

Leyva Franco said her mother left Chilpancingo, the capital of the Mexican state of Chilpancingo Guerrero, sometime after Mother's Day last year. Her mother had told her she wanted to return to Mexico after paying unspecified debts.

She crossed the border illegally and followed the advice of a neighbor who said there were jobs in Denver, her daughter said.

"She always wanted to go (to the United States) to find a better life, because she was always a single mother," Leyva Franco said.

Her family said her remains would be returned to Mexico for burial.

"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," Leyva Franco said of the way her mother was killed. "I wanted her to die naturally."