A man has been arrested on suspicion of shooting and killing his 25-year-old wife and then burning down the couple’s home in an attempt to cover up the crime, Murrieta police announced on Thursday.
Emergency personnel initially responded to a report of a structure fire on the 24500 block of Grand Oaks Court (map) on Wednesday shortly before 6 p.m., a news release from the Murrieta Police Department stated.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, and, after a preliminary investigation, determined the cause to be arson, according to the release.
No victims were initially found inside the residence, but police later discovered that a resident of the home was missing.
Hours later, Freddy Perez-Rodas was arrested after he allegedly admitted to shooting his wife, Laura Perez, during a domestic dispute that afternoon and then tried to cover up the crime by setting fire to the home, police said in the release.
Perez-Rodas, 27, allegedly told police that he moved the body to a storage locker before calling 911 to report his home was on his fire.
The remains of Perez, who was an officer with the Escondido Police Department, were later discovered in the locker by authorities, according to the release. Officers also located the weapon allegedly used in the crime.
“The Murrieta Police Department has worked closely with the Escondido Police Department from the start of this investigation,” the release stated. “Our condolences go out to both Ms. Perez’s immediate family as well as her police family.”
The couple had a 4-year-old child together who was not injured during the incident, and was in the care of the Perez’s relatives.
Perez-Rodaz was booked Thursday morning at the Riverside County Southwest Jail on suspicion of murder, arson and child endangerment, the release stated.
He was being held on $4 million bail, county inmate records showed.