Montebello father charged with wife’s murder
MONTEBELLO, Calif. – The man who was arrested after a standoff on a highway in Santee was charged Monday with murdering his wife and the kidnapping of his four sons.
Daniel Perez, 43, was scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday and faced one count of murder and four counts of kidnapping, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He was charged with killing his 39-year-old wife Erica on Dec. 5, the day the family of six was last seen. They were reported missing five days later, on Dec. 10.
About eight hours after the Montebello Police Department asked for help finding the Perez family on Dec. 10, a body was discovered in the trunk of the missing family’s car in Montebello.
The body was not immediately identified, but the discovery prompted an Amber Alert for the missing sons and Daniel Perez.
The following morning, a car that Perez was thought to be driving was pursued by El Cajon police and then California Highway Patrol officers in San Diego County. On the side of a freeway in Santee, Perez was taken into custody after appearing to attempt to jump over the edge of an overpass.
The boys, who had been in the car, were not harmed, authorities said.
Later that night, the body in the trunk was identified as that of Erica Perez. It was not clear how she died.
Family members said the couple had a tumultuous relationship and were both having affairs.
Prosecutors planned to ask that bail for Daniel Perez be set at $1.4 million. He faces life in state prison.