A 24-year-old man accused of fatally beating and strangling his girlfriend in an Ivywild hotel had a history of violence, including eight arrests for allegedly attacking his mother and other family members in Florida, according to recently released court documents.
Marvin Santiago turned himself in at the El Paso County jail late last month, six months after 23-year-old Elena Alinj was found unresponsive in a hotel room and later died from her injuries, police said.
Authorities found Alinj, along with Santiago, Sept. 28 in a room at the Sun Springs Motel, 1411 S. Nevada Ave, after receiving a call for medical assistance. After a hospital exam found several injuries on Alinj’s body, detectives returned to the motel to question Santiago and gather evidence from the scene, police said
Investigators later found Santiago had been accused of assaulting his mother, a fellow student and family members numerous times in the last decade, according to a March 4 arrest warrant.
Between 2009 and 2018, he was arrested eight times on suspicion of attacking his mother or her partner near Orlando, Fla., according to the warrant.
Florida authorities reported he had anger issues and often was violent toward his mother “to show how mad he was,” the arrest warrant stated. Additional police reports from Florida stated he stalked someone, threatening that they “didn’t want to know the real Marvin,” and ambushed and attacked a fellow student from behind, the warrant stated.
His extended family told police that Santiago tried to jump into their moving car after they refused to financially support him and said they were worried he was going to harm them and the young children inside the car, the warrant stated.
Months before Alinj's death, former neighbors called Colorado Springs police to report hearing the couple fight, but when police arrived, Alinj denied any physical violence between herself and her boyfriend, according to the warrant.
The couple’s former landlord told police he saw bruises on her neck and face and one of Alinj’s co-workers said Santiago threatened to kill his and Alinj's child if she did not support him financially, the warrant stated.
In a March 2020 interview with police, Santiago denied assaulted Alinj. He said called 911 after he found her on the bathroom floor, unable to breathe.
Alinj was brought to the hospital, where she died a day later. An autopsy report found that she died of blunt force trauma and strangulation. Several of her ribs were fractured, along with her spine, and she had cuts, bruises and bite marks on her body, the autopsy found.
She moved to the U.S. five years ago from Albania “in search for a better life,” according to a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses, and was remembered as a “great mom” to an 11-month-old girl.
Santiago remains in El Paso County jail without bail, online court records show. His public defender did immediately respond to a request for comment.