Jesse Valencia, aka Jesse James Wade Valencia, the 22-year old University of Missouri student who was killed 12 years ago by his gay lover, 28-year old police officer Steven Rios, will have his case profiled tonight on an all new episode of Investigation Discovery’s Forbidden: Dying For Love. On Forbidden: Dying For Love‘s episode entitled, “An Affair to Forget,” #ID viewers will see a reenactment of the death of Jesse Valencia, a promising pre-law student who was killed by his secret lover Steven Rios. The Columbia, Missouri cop was ultimately sentenced to life in prison, according to CNN. Today, it is believed that he is serving his time in a state facility outside of Missouri.
The disturbing death of Jesse Valencia made headlines in 2004 after his dead body was found in between two buildings at some off-campus apartments in Columbia, Missouri. Authorities say the man was only wearing a pair of blue shorts and had a deep cut to the neck when he was discovered. At first, it appeared as though it could have been a tragic fall from one of the buildings, but an autopsy report confirmed that his death was no accident—it was a homicide.
As law enforcement officials scoured the neighborhood for clues, grieving friends of Jesse Valencia provided an inside look into his personal life, which included a bevy of interesting lovers who could’ve done it. While searching Jesse James Wade Valencia’s apartment, they found a used condom and believed that maybe he was killed by an ex-lover. One of his former boyfriends admitted that the condom was used during a sexual encounter that happened between them just two nights before but insisted that he’d never harm Jesse.
That same lover provided a huge tip for police when he told them that Jesse Valencia was involved with a married cop who liked to come and have sex when he could get a break during his shift. The tipster also stated that he knew this for a fact because the cop, who was identified as Officer Steven Rios, came over and found them in bed together. That same night, the cop engaged in a three-way romp with them both.
In speaking with Jesse Valencia’s former lover, they also learned that Steven Rios was a dark figure—a tough, aggressive cop who struck him as cold. Investigators were floored to find out that one of their own could be engaging in this type of behavior while on duty. In a former interview with Jesse Valencia’s mother, she indicated that the family knew about the relationship between Jesse and the cop, but that they didn’t know his name. It also appeared that even Jesse didn’t know his real name. At some point, he found out that Rios was married and threatened to break it off with him.
No one really knows what led to Jesse Valencia’s death that night, but law enforcement officials believe that Steven Rios made a late-night visit to Jesse’s home, where they engaged in an argument that extended to the outside area. It was there, that investigators allege that Steven Rios savagely killed Valencia, using an incorrectly executed choke-hold technique that rendered him unconscious before his throat was cut, which ended his short life.
The University of Missouri student’s death touched the gay and lesbian community far and wide. They say that Jesse Valencia was a good friend who stood up for what he believed. When he was caught, Steven Rios denied murdering Valencia, then tried to commit suicide before he eventually owned up to having a sexual affair with the MU student. Steven Rios’ wife, who is now remarried, believes that her cheating former husband is innocent of the killing, according to KOMO.
“There’s an awful lot of people who cheat on their spouse every day.() That doesn’t mean they’re capable of committing a murder. It doesn’t mean they should have their lives taken away from them.”
Court documents found at Case Law indicate that Steven Rios met Jesse Valencia when he gave him a ticket. He was ultimately connected to Valencia’s death by three hair strands. The story of Heather Rich was also profiled on Forbidden: Dying For Love. Tonight’s episode airs at 10-9 central on Investigation Discovery.
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