A 15-year-old Houston girl was found dead under a kitchen sink this week, and her boyfriend has been charged with the grisly crime.
The suspect was arrested when police discovered incriminating evidence on his cell phone. He is currently in juvenile detention after going before a judge on Thursday, and his next hearing will be held in 10 days.
Perez’s family has set up a GoFundMe page seeking assistance in paying funeral expenses and attorney fees.
Here’s everything you need to know about the murder of Karen Perez.
1. She Was Last Seen Leaving a Restaurant With Her Boyfriend
Perez was last on May 27, but she never made it home that Friday evening. She had evidently skipped school that day and did not attend classes at South Houston High School.
Police later obtained surveillance video of Perez entering a restaurant accompanied by two boys around noon that day. According to KTRK, these two boys were Perez’s friend and her ex-boyfriend, and Perez was reportedly on the way to her boyfriend’s house.
The restaurant Perez was seen at is a few blocks away from where her body was later discovered. According to the New York Daily News, the suspect returned to the restaurant around 6 p.m. sweaty and nervous, asking to use their phone and saying it was an emergency.
2. She Was Found in an Abandoned Apartment
On Monday evening, three days after she was reported missing, Perez’s body was found under a kitchen sink inside an abandoned apartment building on Avenue N in Houston.
This apartment is apparently quite well known around South Houston High School as a place to go to do drugs and have sex.
“Everybody knows that when they skip [school], they come here to this property, and it’s so dangerous and I can’t believe nobody has [done anything about it],” said the girl’s aunt, Maria Perez.
Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch, a search and rescue organization, said that the complex was searched prior to the body being found, but this process was not comprehensive enough.
“I don’t want to slander anybody, but we searched 25 units, and there are 200 units,” Miller said. “It proves it wasn’t searched the way it should’ve been searched yesterday afternoon.”
Police believe this apartment is where the murder too place.
3. Her Murder Was Recorded on Video
Houston police obtained warrants for two cell phones the girl’s boyfriend owned, and they say one contained graphic video of the murder taking place.
Officials say nothing is visible in the recording, but the suspect can be heard raping and strangling Perez. On the tape, the victim yells “I don’t want to die” while pleading and crying.
This was not the only piece of damning evidence found on the suspect’s cellphone. Police also discovered a text conversation in which the boyfriend demands Perez skip school or he would kill her, according to ABC 13.
4. The Suspect’s Father Turned Him In
According to CBS News, on the night Perez went missing, her family requested police check the house of the girl’s boyfriend, who is now accused of the murder. Police say the boy’s father drove him around the neighborhood looking for Perez until he told his father to turn around because “she is not alive.”
The boy’s father soon turned his son into police as a suspect.
5. The Suspect Allegedly Confessed to the Murder
It does not appear the suspect is denying that he raped and strangled his girlfriend. According to the New York Daily News, the 15-year-old confessed to the crime when speaking with police.
“Yes, I did,” he said. “That’s all I’m saying.”