By Associated Press

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — Police in Puerto Vallarta were holding a Mexican man Tuesday, May 27 after he confessed to killing an American gay rights activist at her room in the Brisas del Mar hotel.

State prosecutor’s official Guillermo Martin Diaz said the man told police he stabbed Felicia Melton-Smyth early Monday, May 26 because she refused to pay for sex.

Diaz said the suspect, Francisco Javier Hollos, had been in Puerto Vallarta only a few days and didn’t have anywhere to stay when he met Melton-Smyth.

The U.S. Consulate in Puerto Vallarta did not return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The murder devastated the gay community in Madison, Wis., where Melton-Smyth was a major fundraiser for the AIDS Network.

Her day job was in the billings department for the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, the clinical practice organization for doctors who work in the hospital and teach in the medical school.

On nights and weekends, she was a fixture and part-time employee at the Shamrock Bar, where she helped raise money for AIDS initiatives and at Christmas urged patrons to buy gifts for children who either had AIDS or whose parents did.

"Her unofficial title here was cruise director. She took care of fundraising, parties, decorations. She kept the place in line," said co-worker Cheryl Bigdal. "The smiles, the jokes she put out, that was priceless around here."

Bigdal said Melton-Smyth frequently vacationed in Puerto Vallarta with friends.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 30, 2008.

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