ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A Murrieta man suspected of killing his wife, an Escondido police officer, and setting their house aflame to cover up the crime was being held Thursday without bail.
Freddy Perez Rodas, 27, was arrested Wednesday night and booked into the Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of murder, arson and child endangerment in connection with the death of 25-year-old Laura Perez.
Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad alleged that Rodas shot his wife in the chest during a domestic dispute sometime Wednesday in their house at 24562 Grand Oaks Court.
She died at the scene, after which the suspect allegedly transported her body to a Moreno Valley storage locker. Rodas then allegedly returned to the house and set fire to it. Fire crews arrived around 6:30 p.m. and extinguished the flames a short time later, immediately identifying the cause of the blaze as arson, Conrad said.
He said Rodas, who called to report the fire, had also reported his wife missing.
“During questioning overnight, Rodas admitted killing his wife and burning the location in an attempt to cover up the crime,” according to Conrad, who said Rodas took detectives to where he had dumped his wife’s remains.
The couple’s 4-year-old child was not harmed and is now in the care of extended family, the lieutenant said.
According to Conrad, his agency worked closely with Escondido police during the investigation.
“Our condolences go out to both Ms. Perez’ immediate family, as well as her police family,” Conrad said.
Escondido police chief Craig Carter said his department was reeling from the news.
“The men and women of the Escondido police family and all city employees are shocked by the tragic loss of one of our own,” Carter said. “We ask for time to grieve and take care of Laura’s family.”
The suspect is being held at the Murrieta jail.