Man who fled with 4 sons arrested in wife's death

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2014 3:40 PM
Man who fled with 4 sons arrested in wife's death

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California man accused of abducting his four sons and engaging police in a highway standoff was booked into jail Friday for investigation of his wife's death as well as kidnapping.

Daniel Perez will be held at the Montebello police jail, about 15 miles east of Los Angeles. Prosecutors will review the investigation and decide on charges.

Perez's four children have been reunited with relatives.

According to investigators, Daniel and Erica Perez, along with their sons, ages 6 to 11, disappeared Dec. 5 and were reported missing four days later, on Tuesday. The next day, police found Erica Perez's body in the trunk of the family's Honda Accord about a half-mile from their Montebello home.

The cause of the 39-year-old woman's death has not been released.

On Thursday, the California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert stating the children had been taken by their father. Montebello police activated an anti-theft tracker in the family's other car, a Toyota Camry, which alerted authorities to its location in San Diego County and triggered a pursuit shortly after 8 a.m.

The Camry stopped on an elevated freeway ramp after a pursuit that lasted about 10 minutes and reached speeds of 85 mph, CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein said.

A police negotiator spoke by phone with Perez, a 43-year-old elementary school custodian, who released two of the boys. Police sensed a sudden change in demeanor and sent in armored vehicles from both directions to block the car, along with about 25 San Diego County sheriff's deputies.

With television helicopters circling above, Perez got out of the car and walked backward to the railing of the 150-foot-high bridge with one boy at his side.

Perez held a phone to his ear while the other boy followed a few steps behind. Police shot him with a beanbag round, Perez threw an arm and a leg over the railing, and officers rushed in to grab him.

Perez's four children were not physically harmed.

Daniel and Erica Perez had an unstable and at times violent marriage, according to police. Officers had been called to the family home in the past because of disturbances, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said.

Erica Perez had been convicted in March 2011 of misdemeanor corporal injury to a spouse and sentenced to 60 days in jail, authorities said. Daniel Perez had two trespassing convictions in 1996, and in 1999 he was charged with passing a check with insufficient funds but the case was dismissed, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported, citing court records.