Police release sketch of man who gunned down mother near school


It was just two weeks ago to the day that immigrant mother Merlyn Yolibeth Perez-Orellana, 24, was killed in broad daylight. Her body was left for kids and parents to see. Now her suspected killer's face has been revealed.

Just seven months ago, police say Yoli Perez left Honduras because she wanted a better life for her daughter.

"She has a husband in Honduras that she left during that time," said HPD Sgt. Eli Cisneros.

But just months later, Perez was assassinated while walking to get her daughter from school. Police say it wasn't the first attempt to kill Perez.

Sgt. Cisneros said, "As she entered her apartment gate (on December 13), a vehicle pulled up in front of the apartments and a lone gunman got out and actually shot at her."

Perez escaped that shooting unharmed, but her killer would be back. This time, no one could save her. The killer shot her four times, leaving her bloodied body left on the front lawn of a home.

But luckily there were witnesses, which gave police one critical snapshot -- a composite sketch of the face of Perez's suspected killer.

Sgt. Cisneros said, "This is the basically the biggest lead we have to go on right now."

Police say they've spoken to the husband Perez left behind in Honduras.

"He doesn't have any direct knowledge of how or why this incident could have occurred," Sgt. Cisneros said. "Basically what he's contacted us for is, he's trying to seek custody of his child."

That seven-year-old girl is being held in Children's Protective Services custody. Police fear she may also be the target of the assassination.

The brutal crime happened in the 2400 block of Rockridge January 21 at around 3:20pm. Perez's killer was last seen running west on Pagewood from Rockyridge.

The suspect is described only as a Hispanic male in his 30s, standing around 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with a skinny build. He was unshaven and wearing a zip-up style turquoise coat, blue jeans and black shoes. He was last seen getting into what is believed to be a gold-colored mid-sized sport utility vehicle.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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