Mystery surrounds murder of local teacher

November 28, 2009 5:02:06 AM PST
Investigators clear across town from one another want to know who murdered a local teacher, stabbing him multiple times. But there are also claims of of mishandled evidence, which could slow down the search for the killer. Investigators with the Texas Rangers are assisting the Galena Park Police Department on this one. It started as a missing person case and is now a murder investigation.

We've confirmed the body of Heladio Perales, an HISD high school teacher, has been found after it took a 53 mile ride in the back of a vehicle hitched to a tow truck. The vehicle in question -- Perales' own Toyota 4-runner. His body was found Thursday around noon in the back cargo area concealed by a retractable cover.

But there's a lot more to this. According to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, the vehicle was found abandoned on a property on Hurta Road near Needville. When authorities realized it belonged to Perales, who was missing, Galena Park sent out an officer and a tow truck, but no one opened the vehicle up until it was back at the Galena Park Police Department 53 miles away.

We can only imagine their surprise when they found the body because the Galena Park police chief never returned our calls today.

I did speak with Chief Deputy Craig Brady out of Fort Bend County, who says they offered to process the SUV where it was found, calling that the best practice because he says you can lose evidence just by moving it. But he says Galena Park declined.

We're told Perales was stabbed multiple times. DPS officials say their investigators believe he was murdered in Wharton. They have three persons of interest who they're pursuing.

Perales is a Spanish teacher at Reagan High School in the Heights. His family members, who are grieving, declined to comment.


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