League City police suspect mother of four Giselle Salazar-Tapia did not die by suicide after her body was found hanging in the Wharf Marina

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (KTRK) – League City police suspect foul play in the death of a mother of four who was found hanged late last month.

Neighbors discovered Giselle Salazar-Tapia’s body hanging from a dock at Wharf Marina on the afternoon of May 31.

Lt. Eric Cox of the League City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division said it was partially submerged.

The 30-year-old had been living on her boyfriend James Hart’s boat, which was anchored in the marina, since March.

Cox said investigators do not believe Salazar-Tapia hanged herself. Rather, they believe her body was staged to look like she had hung herself after she died elsewhere.

“Her arm was found hanging in the air with nothing holding it there. So we believe she probably died with her arm extended above her head like that and that rigor mortis had set in before she was laid down like that,” Cox said.

The Galveston County Coroner’s Office told ABC13 that it will take several weeks to determine Salazar-Tapia’s cause of death as they await the results of a toxicology test.

“I just want everyone to know that my sister did not do this to herself. She did not commit suicide. We just want justice for her. We want whoever is responsible, whoever did this to my sister, to be charged for what he did to her,” Salazar-Tapia’s sister Esperanza Alegria told ABC13.

Cox said the department has identified two people of interest in the case.

“We know that these are the people she probably had the closest contact with during her time there, so they were both interviewed,” he said.

Hart told ABC13 that police repeatedly questioned him after his girlfriend’s death and that he felt criminalized by both police and the public.

“I would never hurt Giselle,” Hart said.

According to Hart, Salazar-Tapia left the boat early Friday morning, sometime after midnight, to use the bathroom and did not return. He said he checked the bathrooms and then went back to bed.

“I assumed she would be gone for a few days,” he explained.

Hart told ABC13 he didn’t know his girlfriend was dead until police found her body that afternoon. He said he wasn’t able to see what happened after she left the boat because both of his security cameras inexplicably stopped working before her death. He said one disappeared and the other was manually rotated to point away from his boat.

Cox told ABC13 that police suspected foul play immediately after Salazar-Tapia’s body was discovered, but are now making the information public in the hopes that someone will come forward with additional evidence. He said investigators are currently combing through nearly 2,000 surveillance videos related to the case.

Cox also told ABC13 that police had been called to the boat several times because of disputes between Salazar and Tapia, which was confirmed by neighbors.

For further updates on this story, follow Shannon Ryan on Facebook, X and Instagram.

Copyright © 2024 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.