California authorities have arrested a man in connection with the deaths of five of his children who were all killed in the first six months of their lives, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office announced.
Paul Perez, the father of the five victims, was arrested for the individual murder of each baby, Sheriff Tom Lopez said in a news release issued Monday.
The arrest was made thanks to DNA technology which identified Perez, 57, as the father of a deceased infant found in 2007 by a fisherman in rural Yolo County.
The case went cold after no information was available to propel an investigation.
But in October 2019, investigators positively identified the baby as Nikko Lee Perez by DNA comparison.
Baby Nikko was born on Nov. 8, 1996, in Fresno, California, according to the sheriff’s report.
The Yolo County coroner estimated baby Nikko to be around one to three months old when he was murdered and placed inside a heavily weighed-down metal cooler chest which was then tossed in a waterway east of Woodland, California.
The baby had been wrapped in a Winnie the Pooh blanket before being wrapped in plastic and placed inside the cooler, according to the coroner’s 2007 report.
Paul Perez, 57, a convicted sex offender with a 20-year criminal history, was charged in the deaths of the children born between 1992 and 2001. https://t.co/xhFJxQQvfy
— KOIN News (@KOINNews) January 28, 2020
The identification of baby Nikko led investigators to the discovery of four of Nikko’s siblings, all believed to be deceased.
Nikko’s first sibling, Kato Allen Perez, was born in 1992 and is known to be deceased, the sheriff’s office news release said.
Nikko’s three remaining siblings, one of whom shares the same name as baby Nikko, are believed to be deceased as well.
Authorities have yet to locate the remains of any of the babies, named Mika Alena Perez, born in 1995, Nikko Lee Perez, born in 1997 and Kato Krow Perez, born in 2001.
“While I am proud of the efforts of my investigators and coroner’s office, this is not a day that will bring joy to any one of us,” Lopez said.
“In my 40 years in law enforcement, I cannot think of a case more disturbing than this one,” he added.
“There can be no victim more vulnerable and innocent than an infant, and unfortunately this case involves five.”
Five victims in mass murder case in Yolo County.Father is under arrest. pic.twitter.com/GRVG14fQg6
— Mike Luery (@KCRALuery) January 27, 2020
“The allegations announced today are heartbreaking. There is absolutely no place in our society for horrendous crimes against children,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in the news release.
“At the California Department of Justice, we will do everything in our power to track down criminals who think they have evaded the grip of justice. We are thankful for the hard work of our DNA team and our partners at the Yolo County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices who are fighting every day to keep our communities safe.”
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