In the two years leading up to her 2011 disappearance, Brusly High School teacher Sylviane Finck Lozada told authorities her husband physically abused her three times, several former deputies testified Tuesday.

Each time she told East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies she did not want to press charges against Oscar Lozada, who is now charged with second-degree murder in her death. On two of those occasions she asked deputies to only speak with her husband.

On the third and final occasion — Dec. 31, 2010, six months before her disappearance — the woman told a deputy at Our Lady of the Lake's Baton Rouge emergency room that she did not want him to contact her husband at all.

"She was very adamant about that," former East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy Derek Schilling testified inside state District Judge Tiffany Foxworth's 19th Judicial District courtroom. "She was afraid he would become angry and take their baby to Venezuela."

Prosecutors say Oscar Lozada, 45, killed and dismembered his wife in July 2011, then fled to his home country of Venezuela with the couple's daughter.

Venezuela has no extradition agreement with the United States. However, Lozada was arrested in late 2018 in Mexico and brought back to Baton Rouge.

On Tuesday, after a hearing, Foxworth gave prosecutor Dana Cummings permission to bring up the three alleged domestic abuse incidents at Lozada's trial, which is now set for Nov. 29.

Cummings had argued that the incidents are more probative than prejudicial to the defense, showing intent and motive. Lozada's attorney, Stephen Sterling, countered that none of the incidents resulted in an arrest and said they would prejudice his client in front of a jury.

Sterling argued that Sylviane Lozada used the Sheriff's Office to mediate her troubled marriage, but Cummings said the woman "was just looking for help."

Former sheriff's deputy Dan Sutton and former reserve deputy Robert Bewick testified that they interviewed Oscar Lozada at OLOL on July 21, 2009, after his wife told a nurse that he had struck her in the back during an argument at their Baton Rouge home.

"When she turned away from him, he hit her in the back with the heel of his hand," Sutton recalled Sylviane Lozada telling him at the hospital.

"He said it was the first time that it happened," Bewick said Oscar Lozada told him. "He indicated it would not happen again. Mr. Lozada did appear to show remorse for it. He teared up and said it wouldn't happen again."

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But less than two months later, on Sept. 7, 2009, Schilling testified he was dispatched to the Lozada home on a report of Oscar Lozada hitting his wife in the chest with his elbow while they argued in bed.

Oscar Lozada told the deputy the physical contact was unintentional, and that it occurred when he was yanking the bed cover. Schilling said Sylviane Lozada wouldn't say whether the incident was intentional or not.

Schilling also testified about being called to the OLOL emergency room by medical staff on New Year's Eve 2010 concerning an alleged domestic abuse battery involving the Lozadas.

"She was very upset," the former deputy said. "Told me she had been in an argument. Her husband pushed her down. Her back hit a cabinet."

After Sylviane Lozada refused to press charges and specifically urged Schilling not to contact her husband, Schilling said he had her sign a Sheriff's Office drop-charge form.

Sylviane Lozada was 51 when she disappeared. Her body has never been found. Her blood was discovered on the ceiling and walls of the garage at the family's Spring Lake Drive home in Baton Rouge.

Oscar Lozada confessed in 2018 to killing and dismembering his wife, officials have said. He later tried to have the confession thrown out, but the state Supreme Court ruled that it can be used at his trial.

Lozada, who faces a mandatory sentence to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder, rejected an offer last year to plead guilty to manslaughter and obstruction of justice in exchange for a 50-year prison term.

Lozada bought buckets and concrete around the time of his wife's disappearance, court filings indicate. He twice accompanied detectives in October 2018 to several locations off Interstate 10 in an unsuccessful attempt to recover her remains.

The Sheriff's Office searched waterways along I-10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans but did not report finding anything.

Cummings has stated in court documents that Sylviane Lozada’s body was dismembered and disposed of in buckets.

The couple’s daughter lives with her mother's family in Belgium, her mother's home country.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.