Police: 20-year-old suspect fatally shot Yakima couple, allegedly in a fight over his phone
WARNING: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence.
MOXEE, Wash. — Authorities are searching for a 20-year-old man after police say he brutally murdered a Yakima couple in a remote apple orchard near his Moxee home.
Jesus Antonio Perez, Jr. has been charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of a couple last seen Dec. 21 and reported missing Dec. 30.
In court documents, police say Perez fatally shot 32-year-old Alyson Harris and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Miguel Martinez-Vasquez multiple times, allegedly in a dispute over Perez’s phone.
Authorities later found that Martinez-Vasquez had been stabbed multiple times, struck over the head by an object resembling a machete or axe and had a symbol typically associated with a particular street gang cut into his back, court documents said.
Court documents detail the chain of events leading up to the killing, starting with how the couple came to be with Perez that night and ending with what Perez allegedly did in the days after the murder.
Dec. 21: Harris and Martinez-Vasquez disappear
Sometime on Dec. 21, Harris’s mother dropped her off at Target in Yakima. Later, Harris did not respond to her messages.
“She texted her daughter many times with no luck,” court documents said.
Later that day, at about 10 p.m., Harris and Martinez-Vasquez reportedly went to a close friend’s house near Swan Avenue and North 14th Avenue to hang out with him and his girlfriend.
According to court documents, that close friend reportedly told police that the four of them drank and smoked weed, deciding to call it a night at about 4 a.m.
The friend told police that Martinez-Vasquez knew Perez and called him to give him and Harris a ride. The friend said he overheard Perez saying he needed to go to his house to meet someone, but that he’d get Harris home by 6 a.m.
Dec. 22: Perez reportedly kills Harris and Martinez-Vasquez
The friend said Perez came by the next day — Dec. 22— and was acting “crazy.”
Perez reportedly told the friend he’d taken the couple to an orchard near his home near Desmarais Road and Beane Road, where they’d gotten into a “scuffle,” court documents said.
According to what Perez reportedly told the friend, Harris had taken Perez’s phone and wouldn’t give it back.
Perez told the friend that’s when he pulled out a gun, pointed it at her and demanded she give it back, according to court documents.
When Martinez-Vasquez reached for the gun, Perez reportedly shot him twice in the chest and then shot Harris, court documents said.
“[Perez] told him that he thought [Harris] was dead, but [Martinez-Vasquez] ran off into the orchards,” court documents said.
The friend told police Perez mentioned he had help removing the bodies, but that the friend didn’t believe him at the time, thinking Perez was on drugs, court documents said.
At that point, authorities say the friend’s girlfriend came home and said her van had broken down and was out of gas.
The friend reportedly asked to borrow a gas can and Perez got one out of the back of his truck, saying the friend would need to return it because it belonged to Perez’s father.
Perez never came back for the gas can: deputies said it was still sitting on the man’s porch until they came to pick it up. Deputies said it was a plastic gas can and had black soot from the outlet and up the sides of the can.
Dec. 23: Perez reportedly runs from law enforcement
The next day, on Dec. 23, Perez reportedly showed up at his house on Desmarais Road, where he lives with his parents. The property is surrounded by apple orchards.
“On that day he was acting crazy as if he was on drugs,” court documents said. “ He stated that he had hurt someone and people were wanting to kill him.”
According to court documents, his mother noticed that Perez appeared to have dried blood or mud on the gray pants he was wearing; she asked what the stains were and he told her it was nothing.
Perez ’s mother called 911 and when deputies arrived, Perez reportedly took off running.
In court documents, Perez ’s father told deputies he believes his son fled to Mexico on the Fronteras Del Norte bus service.
When deputies later checked in with the bus service, they learned that Perez had purchased a ticket to Tijuana, Mexico, which was scheduled to leave Christmas, but he never got on the bus or cashed in his ticket.
Dec. 27, 30: Perez’s parents fear retaliation, couple reported missing to police
Four days later, on Dec. 27, Perez’s father called deputies to report that people he believed to be gang members had come to his home looking for his son.
The day before New Year’s Eve, Perez’s father reportedly found a box and bag with what appeared to be blood inside in his driveway. Deputies say when they arrived, they confirmed that it did appear to be blood.
Perez’s parents have reportedly left their home out of fear of retaliation, court documents said.
The couple was reported missing Dec.30, when Martinez-Vasquez’s sister contacted police Dec. 30 to report the couple as missing. She told police she hadn’t heard from them since sometime on Dec. 21, which was unusual, court documents said.
Jan. 7: Burned bodies found in hop field on Desmarais Road
At about 2 p.m. on Jan. 7, two people were driving off-road in the 5600 block of Desmarais Road when they found two burned human bodies and called 911.
The bodies were identified as Martinez-Vasquez and Harris, due to their unique tattoos. They were found less than two miles from where Perez reportedly took their lives, according to court documents. .
An autopsy found both died of internal trauma. Both had multiple gunshot wounds and multiple bone fractures in their heads and bodies, court documents said.
Jan. 8: Investigators build case, find evidence
At some point during the investigation, Perez’s truck was found unoccupied near East Viola Avenue and South Fair Avenue and impounded at the Yakima County sheriff’s office.
Detectives found that the red, full-size, extended cab GMC Sierra —registered to Perez — had been damaged at one point and part of the underside of the tailgate had been filled with Bondo, which is used for repairs.
Deputies say part of that filler was missing, and that they’d found a matching piece of filler left behind at the scene where the bodies had been found.
The tailgate, deputies said, was also smeared with what appeared to be fingerprints made in blood.
Investigators received search warrants for the home and the surrounding 80 acres of orchards surrounding it. Inside the home, they reportedly found blood near Perez’s bedroom.
Outside the home, deputies say they found a barrel filled with about 12 inches of burnt items that were mostly reduced to ash.
Deputies were able to recover spent bullet casings, a three-month sobriety chip and a braided metal necklace from the barrel, court documents said.
Investigators noted that Harris attended addiction treatment classes and had just celebrated two months of sobriety on Facebook in November, meaning she would have been three months’ sober in December.
The necklace reportedly matched one Harris was pictured wearing in several photos she posted on the social media site last year, according to court documents.
In one area of the orchard, deputies found a large amount of blood on the ground, along with articles of burnt clothing, court documents said.
Deputies say they followed a trail of blood to a pile of bins, some of which appeared to have bullet holes in them.
Investigators reportedly found expired license plates from Perez’s truck nearby, as well as small pieces of lead that appeared to be bullet fragments.
Jan. 13: Perez charged with murder, warrant issued for his arrest
Prosecutors charged Perez on Jan.13 with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Perez was convicted of a felony in 2016 as a juvenile, which was vacated and sealed in 2017. Prosecutors filed a motion Friday to unseal the case because Perez has been charged with a felony as an adult.
Anyone with information on this case use the free P3 Tips App to submit the information to Crime Stoppers, or call the hotline at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). It is anonymous — you never have to give your name — and you’ll get a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip helps lead to his arrest.