A woman was strangled to death by a man who suspected she had AIDS after having a sexual encounter with her, according to authorities.
Justin Welch, 22, was arrested on Monday in San Antonio for allegedly choking Elisha Henson, 30, with an electrical cord on April 26, MySanAntonio.com reports. The slaying happened soon after Welch came to believe she had the deadly disease after she reportedly performed oral sex on him.
Later that day, the two were standing on the porch of a Lufkin house with another woman, Rosalind Smith, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Smith told Angelina County deputies they started talking about "Elisha's sickness," and Smith asked if Henson had AIDS.
Henson did not want to answer and went to her Toyota Camry, according to deputies.
Smith told deputies she saw Welch go into the car with Henson and strangle her with an electrical cord.
The Lufkin Daily News reports that Smith also said she drove Welch to a boat ramp seven miles away where he allegedly dumped the body in nearby woods.
Welch and Smith are both charged with first-degree murder, according to KCEN.
Smith was arrested last month, but Welch evaded authorities by allegedly hiding in San Antonio.
"This news is sickening, devastating, and heartbreaking to women living with HIV," says Positive Women Network-USA Executive Director Naina Khanna told HIV Plus Magazine. "Not only does it reveal the lack of value placed on the lives of women with HIV; it also shows that ignorance and misinformation about how HIV is and is not transmitted are quite literally deadly. The risk of a man acquiring HIV by receiving oral sex from a woman is so vanishingly low as to be virtually impossible."
The Centers for Disease Control agrees that the risk of spreading HIV through oral sex is significantly lower than vaginal or anal sex, but notes "the risk is not zero."