California man allegedly kills wife, sets crime scene ablaze

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Friday, July 25, 2014
Murrieta man allegedly kills wife, sets crime scene ablaze
A Murrieta resident has been arrested for allegedly killing his 25-year-old wife and setting his house ablaze to cover up the crime scene.

MURRIETA, CA -- A California man has been arrested after allegedly killing his 25-year-old wife, taking her body to a storage locker and then setting his house ablaze to cover up the crime scene.

Police say Freddy Perez-Rodas, 27, shot his wife, Laura Perez, in the chest during a domestic violence incident in Murrieta on Wednesday.

After removing her body from the crime scene, Perez-Rodas allegedly set the location on fire and called 911 to report the blaze. He told dispatchers his wife was trapped inside.

Authorities responded to a house fire in the 24500 block of Grand Oaks Court around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. The fire burned mostly downstairs and caused about $100,000 worth of damage.

Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad says investigators immediately suspected arson.

"At that point, his wife was in fact not inside the residence, we began looking for her, and it became somewhat of an arson/missing person investigation from that point forward," Conrad said.

Firefighters respond to a house fire in Murrieta that may be connected to a missing person case on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

During questioning, the resident of the house, Perez-Rodas, admitted to killing his wife, who was a police officer with the Escondido Police Department. He then led detectives to his wife's body, which he had hid in a storage locker in Moreno Valley.

"He essentially admitted to shooting his wife three times in the chest, and removing her body from the home, and taking it out to a storage locker in Moreno Valley," Conrad said.

Police say they recovered her body at All Size Storage in Moreno Valley.

Perez-Rodas was subsequently booked at the Riverside County Southwest Jail for murder, arson, great bodily injury and willful harming of a child. The couple have a 4-year-old daughter, who officials say is safe and is staying with family.

Escondido police Chief Craig Carter released the following statement Thursday: "The men and women of the Escondido Police family and all City of Escondido employees are shocked by the tragic loss of one of our own. We ask for time to grieve and take care of Laura's family."

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information was urged to contact the Murrieta Police Department at (951) 461-6309.