Suspect arrested, released days before Wyoming murder

Karla Guadalupe-Magaña's body discovered at Woodcreek Apartments

Raul Perez
Raul Perez' Oct. 26 mug shot from the Kent County Correctional Facility.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who allegedly admitted to strangling his girlfriend at a Wyoming apartment has been deported twice and was also arrested and released from jail only days before the homicide.

Raul Perez, 43, is charged with open murder and being a third-time habitual offender. He’s accused of killing 31-year-old Karla Guadalupe-Magaña at Woodcreek Apartments on 44th Street east of Burlingame Avenue SW.

Raul Perez
Raul Perez at arraignment proceedings via video on Oct. 27, 2016.

According to court documents, Perez called his daughter and told her that he had strangled Guadalupe-Magaña. His daughter then called police.

Officers who went to the apartment early Wednesday morning found Perez in bed sleeping and Guadalupe-Magaña’s body in the bathroom, the court documents say.

Police say Guadalupe-Magaña was Perez’s girlfriend, but the victim’s brother tells 24 Hour News 8 they were friends and she wasn’t living with Perez.

A GoFundMe page shows Guadalupe-Magaña was a mother of five children. Family is asking for help with funeral expenses.

OWI ARREST

Just five days before the killing, 24 Hour News 8 learned, Wyoming police arrested Perez on a misdemeanor operating while intoxicated charge. Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young said he used a different name to identify himself after the arrest: Jerry Lopes Sosa.

A fingerprint scan showed his real name, though, which revealed his criminal record. Young told 24 Hour News 8 that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would have been notified of his arrest and it would be up to that agency to direct the jail to keep Perez in custody.

“On the [Saturday, Oct.] 22, ICE would’ve been notified this person was in custody and ICE from there has to do a manual search to identify that this person is associated with a previous contact. That would’ve taken manual intervention and that doesn’t happen over a weekend,” Young explained during a phone interview.

She went on to explain the Kent County Sheriff’s Department had no reason to keep Perez in custody, so he was released on Oct. 22 — a day after his arrest.

DEPORTED TWICE IN THE LAST DECADE

It has been more than a decade since Perez first had contact with ICE, during which time he was twice deported to Mexico, the agency told 24 Hour News 8.

In 2004, authorities in Texas found Perez had come from Mexico to the U.S. and intended to distribute 135 pounds of marijuana. Perez was deported in 2005, but ICE found him back in the country that same year. Court documents show that’s when a Texas court found him guilty of illegal reentry. In 2008, ICE deported him again.

An email from ICE to 24 Hour News 8 stated the agency had “lodged an immigration detainer against the man arrested by the Wyoming Police Department on murder charges in Wyoming, Michigan. ICE intends to take custody of the individual after the full resolution of the pending local charges, to include any potential conviction and subsequent prison term.”

In court Thursday afternoon, a judge denied Perez bond.