MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials announced they have arrested a known male prostitute for the robbery and brutal murder of a gay flight attendant on Saturday during a layover stop in Mexico City.

Mexico City prosecutor Miguel Angel Mancera said that robbery was the motive in the murder of Nick Aaronson, a Phoenix-based flight attendant for U.S. Airways.

The suspect — 20-year-old Jose Luis Ramirez — had a previous criminal record for robbery.

Aaronson, 27, was found bound and face down next to his bed in his Mexico City hotel room after he picked up Ramirez at a nearby bar, according to officials.

Ramirez, known as “The Shadow,” beat Aaronson, strangling him with a belt before fleeing with his money, they said.

Ramirez was later apprehended by local authorities near the Cinema Club, a nearby gay bar where the suspect first met the Aaronson, although he had shaved his head to change his appearance.

Ramirez, who has been in jail before, admitted to entering Aaronson’s room and beating him, but denied killing him. Security cameras showed the two entering the hotel, with Aaronson signing Ramirez in as a guest.

This report from ITN News includes surveillance video from the hotel:

Police were called to Aaronson’s room at the Hilton Hotel early Saturday morning when he failed to appear to catch a scheduled shuttle bus, prompting fellow crew members to have hotel employees check on him.

Investigators said the contents of Aaronson’s luggage
was found scattered from the bed leading to the door to the outside hallway.

“It’s tragic … his loss is a heavy loss for all of us,” said Deborah Volopeck, president of the Association of
Flight Attendants (AFA) Council 66 — a union which represents U.S. Airways employees.

Anita Aaronson, Nick’s mother, poured out her emotion on her Facebook page, posting videos of Nick singing karaoke.

“I can’t stop thinking about my boy, he died in such an awful way, I keep thinking of his pain and fear,” she wrote.

Aaronson’s brother, Jason, was en route Monday to Mexico City to escort Nick’s body back to Phoenix.

A memorial service for Aaronson will be held Thursday, November 10 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Airport Chapel in Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.