MONTEBELLO, Calif. >> Police Sunday discovered a woman’s body inside the trunk of the car of a Montebello family that’s been missing for five days, authorities said.
The Perez family was last seen Friday, Montebello police officials said. The missing family includes Daniel Perez, 43, his wife Erica Perez, 39, and their sons Alex, 6, Tristan, 8, Jaiden, 9, and Jordan, 11.
Police launched an investigation Tuesday after a relative reported the Perez family missing, Montebello police officials said in a written statement. The family has not been seen or heard from since.
But the case turned from a missing persons investigation into a homicide investigation Wednesday afternoon when police made a grisly discovery.
Based on a tip received while canvassing the family’s neighborhood, investigators found a black 2010 Honda Accord belonging to the family about 5 p.m., parked along the curb at 2nd Street and Harding Avenue, next to Beverly Hospital, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said. The car was found less than a mile to the north of the family’s 1st Street home.
Police then discovered the body of a woman inside the trunk of the car, Lopez said. It was not clear late Wednesday whether the body found was that of Erica Perez, Lopez said, however the basic description of the body was consistent with the missing woman’s description.
Police released no information regarding how the woman may have died, or how long ago. The Perez family remained unaccounted for.
“The biggest concern we have is for the children,” Lopez said.
The captain described Daniel Perez a a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Family members told police the parents’ marriage was “unstable” and that the couple had a history of domestic violence, police officials said in a written statement,
Police continued seeking the family Wednesday night, Lopez said. Their investigation included a review of vehicles that have recently crossed the Southern border into Mexico, in case the family had left the country.
Police sought a second car registered to the family, which Lopez described as a black 2014 Toyota Camry with California license plate No. 7FDS891.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.
PHOTOS of Perez family courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.