This is one of those stories that you would think was too unbelievable to be true if you saw it play out on a television show. Unfortunately it’s not fiction but fact. It started in March 2007 when a man who was fishing with a bow and arrow in a canal north of San Francisco missed his target and dredged up something horrible:

He shot at a fleeting carp and missed. But the arrow kept sinking, as the Woodland Daily Democrat reported at the time, and Brian Roller could feel that he had caught something much bigger. When he hauled the catch out of the cloudy, still water, he found that the arrow had pierced a metal cooler.

Inside the cooler was a tiny body, badly decomposed, along with a diaper. The infant was bundled in a Winnie the Pooh blanket smeared with dirt, and wrapped in plastic, according to a 2007 Yolo County Sheriff’s Office coroner’s report. The baby’s skull appeared fractured, according to the report. The remains appeared to be those of a 1-month-old boy.

Roller described his reaction when he opened to cooler to the Associated Press:

“When I opened that box, I was 99 percent sure it was a human body but I wanted to hold on to the belief that maybe it wasn’t,” Brian Roller said.

“When I saw one of the officers (at the scene) start to cry, I knew right then that what I was thinking was true.”

It took more than 12 years before the baby was identified. Last year, detectives ran the child’s DNA through an expanded FBI database and found it was a match for Paul Perez, a man who had served time for sexual assault in the 1990s. The baby was identified as his child Nikko Lee Perez. But as investigators started to gather information they soon discovered something worse. Nikko Perez had siblings who were also missing. Today authorities charged Paul Perez with five counts of premeditated murder. Each of the five victims was one of his own infant children:

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, authorities announced Monday, the same day he was supposed to be released from a state prison in Delano on unrelated charges.

Yolo County Sheriff Tom Lopez said the case reflects an “unspeakable evil,” though a motive has not been determined.

“I cannot think of a case more disturbing than this one,” he said. “There can be no victim more vulnerable and innocent than an infant and unfortunately this case involves five of them.”

I don’t understand how five infants could go missing and no one caught on to what was happening. Were these children born in a hospital? Did they all have the same mother? There are plenty of things about this case that don’t make sense.

Still, it’s a relief this monster was arrested before he could be released. Now it’s a safe bet he will die in prison though this ABC 10 story says because the crime is so horrible that Perez could face the death penalty.

Tags: crime murder