LaShauna Sewell, News9.com
BETHANY, Oklahoma – A man the Bethany Police Department once sought in connection with the murder of a young woman whose body was found dismembered and stuffed in a duffel bag has been cleared as a person of interest.
Police originally named 21-year-old Perez as a person of interest in the case on Wednesday, October 19. They believed he had information vital to their homicide investigation because one of Perez's relatives told police he'd brought the victim, 19-year-old Carina Saunders, to their home. The family member claimed Perez had a relationship with Saunders.
On October 21, Perez called Bethany police and told them he was in Arizona, but was coming back to Oklahoma to speak to investigators.
Bethany police interviewed Perez Saturday, October 23, at police headquarters. He told them the family member who claimed he'd had a relationship with Saunders was wrong. He said the relative mistook the victim for another young woman he'd brought to the house.
Police also tested kitchen knives that once belonged to Perez, a culinary student. He'd pawned the knives and left town. Investigators located those knives and sent them to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) laboratory on October 19 to be tested. Test results indicated there was no human blood on the knives.
After confirming Perez's story and testing the knives, Bethany Police cleared him as a person of interest. They say his leaving the state was not related to their investigation.
Police have also cleared another man, 21-year-old Kyle Tweed, as a person of interest in the case.
Bethany Police are still conducting interviews and examining evidence in the case. Saunders' body was found inside a duffel bag behind a Homeland grocery store in Bethany on October 13. Police are still waiting on a full report from the State Medical Examiner's Office about her death. Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call the Bethany Police Department at (405) 789-2323.