Tourist Sara Kuszak Kidnapped, Throat Slashed

Sara Kuszak, 35, was killed while jogging in Puerto Rico.

Feb. 5, 2009 — -- The pregnant tourist who was brutally murdered in Puerto Rico Wednesday was looking forward to her upcoming wedding and the birth of her first child in May, her family told

"Sara was a devoted daughter, a free spirit and a person who had a love for life," said Joan Lang, the mother of Sara Kuszak, who was kidnapped and murdered after going for a jog on the Caribbean island.

Kuszak, 35, who had arrived from her home in Savannah, Ga., the night before she was found dead with her throat slashed, was a little more than five months pregnant with a baby boy, her mother said.

Lang said she believes her daughter was simply keeping up with her exercise routine when she emarked on a walk early Wednesday morning. Kuszak, who had been an avid runner before she became pregnant, was forced into a man's trunk in Fajardo, in eastern Puerto Rico, authorities said.

Authorities traced the signal from a cell phone call Kuszak had made from her kidnapper's car, an hour before she was found dead, to 36-year-old Eliezer Marquez Navedo, who has reportedly been charged with two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping. confessed to the random killing but has not yet been charged.

Marquez, who could face up to life in prison, walked into court with his head down for a closed hearing in which the charges were announced. He did not enter a plea and does not have a lawyer yet.

Authorities say that Marquez' mother once slit the throats of two children. Describing it as a random crime, police said Marquez apparently acted alone.

"Justice is being done for this victim," prosecutor Francisco Sanchez said outside court. "In this case, there will be no negotiation. He will face the full consequences."

According to a marina spokeswoman, Kuszak was on her way to visit some friends whose yacht was docked nearby when she was abducted. Kuszak's cell phone call was placed to a marina employee who then called 911.

According to Kuszak's mother, her daughter had been visiting the island with her fiance, Cheshire McIntosh, whom she had planned to wed in March.

"The two of them were planning on sailing to the British Virgin Islands from Old San Juan and were going to be married March 22," said Lang.

Lang said that her daughter had spent the past five years working as a chef on the yachts that McIntosh piloted.

"She had so many wonderful talents," said Lang. "She was very, very smart and in any endeavor she took on she always excelled."

The couple met more than five years ago when they were introduced in Fiji, where Kuszak was vacationing and McIntosh was working at a sailing regatta.

Kuszak, Life of a Mother and Bride-to-Be Cut Short

"Her fiance is just devastated," said Lang. "They met during a week away and have been together ever since."

Lang spoke with her daughter at least a couple of times a week and had last seen her over Thanksgiving, when Kuszak had spent a week and a half visiting with family in California. Lang had been planning to spend a few months living with her daughter in Savannah later this spring to help care for the baby.

Ann Marie Lehman described Kuszak, her younger sister, as the "best friend anyone could ask for."

"We were very, very close," said Lehman, who last spoke with her sister Sunday afternoon. "She's a very caring person and lived her life to the fullest."

Kuszak was the youngest of three siblings.

"She was so looking forward to spending her life with her fiance and for the birth of their son," said Lehman.

Kuszak's family is arranging for her body to be transported from Puerto Rico to California for a memorial service.

"It's very surreal and I'm sort of in denial," said Lang. "I'm in disbelief to lose such a beautiful child."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.