Fugitive Cop Block contributor found dead in Mexico
Cop Block contributor Adam Rupeka was on the run after he faced charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old
By Kenneth C. Crowe II and J.P. Lawrence
TROY — The State Department confirmed self-styled police watchdog Adam Rupeka and his girlfriend Jennifer Ogburn died in Tijuana Mexico.
"The U.S. Consulate in Tijuana is providing consular assistance," Niles Cole of the Bureau of Consular Affairs in the U.S. Department of State wrote in an email to the Times Union Wednesday afternoon. "For questions about the circumstances of their death and the investigation, we refer you to Mexican authorities. Out of respect for the families of Mr. Rupeka and Ms. Ogburn during this difficult time, we have no further comment."
Earlier, Rupeka's estrange wife, Rebecca, said Rupeka and Ogburn died of overdoses while they were staying at a motel in the Mexican border city.
Rupeka and Ogburn vanished after they were arrested March 26 in Troy on misdemeanor charges for allegedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.
Rebecca Rupeka said she was called by U.S. consulate officials on Monday who told her that Rupeka died Sunday at the motel and Ogburn died Monday in a Tijuana hospital.
She said authorities told her it appeared Rupeka, who she said did not use drugs, and Ogburn, died of drug overdoses.
She confirmed what police and a Tijuana newspaper, Zeta, previously reported.
The couple, who jumped bail and fled Troy, "were found dead in a room at the Hotel Caesar's in downtown Tijuana, pulmonary embolism, common cause of death by drug overdose," according to a translation of the article.
"'Take our IDs and give them raite (sic) our bodies. Nobody knows we're in Mexico,'" was scrawled in English on the hotel room mirror, the newspaper reported.
Mexican authorities are investigating the incident as a suicide.
Troy police are awaiting crime scene photos from the FBI to confirm that the couple is Rupeka, 36, and Ogburn, 26, Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said Tuesday.
The couple had said on social media that they had fled to Canada. Each posted $5,000 bail to get out of the Rensselaer County Jail on March 26 after Troy police charged them with misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child, sexual abuse and forcible touching.
Rupeka has posted videos on social media claiming police have targeted him for his efforts to expose their misconduct.
"I am now on the run for my life and this is all because of everything I've exposed of police doing," Rupeka said in a video posted March 27 on YouTube and his Facebook page, Capital District Cop Block. "As soon as I get to another safe location, I'll make an update to let everybody know what's going on."
A day later, Rupeka posted a video showing snow and a body of water and spoke about crossing the Canadian border. Rupeka did not appear in that video, and it was unclear where and when the video was made.
In May, Rupeka, caught the public's attention when he flashed his middle finger at a Saratoga Springs Police Officer Nathan Baker while driving in the city and videotaped the officer pepper-spraying him after Rupeka's refusal to get out of his car without hearing what he was being charged with. Rupeka filed a lawsuit and received a $50,000 settlement. Baker resigned.
In September, State Police said Rupeka operated a drone equipped with a camera that crashed into a chimney at the state Capitol. He was charged with reckless endangerment, but a judge dismissed the charges on March 17.
Copyright 2016 the Times Union