An American man has been arrested and charged with the cold-case slayings of five babies, all his own and none of them older than 6 months.
Paul Perez, 57, is accused of killing the babies from 1992 to 2001, and he was charged with five counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances that could make him eligible for capital punishment, officials said.
He was arrested on Monday after new DNA technology helped investigators reopen a cold case from 2007, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
Thanks to new DNA technology, authorities were able to identify a deceased infant found by a fisherman in March 2007 in a sealed container weighed down with “heavy objects” as Nikko Lee Perez, authorities said.
The identification of Nikko finally came in October 2019, and led investigators to discover that Nikko had four siblings, who were all also killed when they were less than six months old, the sheriff’s office said.
The siblings, all born in California, were identified as Kato Allen Perez, born in 1992 and known to be deceased; Mika Alena Perez, born in 1995; Nikko Lee Perez, born in 1997; and Kato Krow Perez, born in 2001. The remains of the last three infants are still unknown, People reports.
Perez has been identified as the father of all five children, but it is still unclear whether they have the same mother, authorities said.
“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,” Sheriff Tom Lopez said in a statement.
“In my 40 years in law enforcement, I cannot think of a case more disturbing than this one,” Lopez added. “There can be no victim more vulnerable and innocent than an infant, and unfortunately this case involves five.”
“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 a statement.