A New Jersey mother of two is dead after she was buried alive by two men, who admitted to killing Fatima Perez by covering her with lime and dirt in a shallow grave. Her body was found on Wednesday, after one of the men led law enforcement to the spot where Fatima Perez took her last breath, according to NJ.com on May 16.
Both men were in court this week facing first-degree murder charges after admitting to killing the 41-year-old woman, who was their friend. The Camden, New Jersey woman’s body was found in Monroe Township in Gloucester County, where detectives were led by one of the perpetrators of the crime, according to MSN News.
Perez was reported missing about 4:30 p.m. on Monday. She was last seen leaving her home with about $8,000 in cash with her to buy a new car. The family believed that Perez was with a friend of the family, Carlos Alicea-Antonetti, who is a landscaper.
The police released several statements asking the public for help in finding Perez. They said in their statement that they believed she was with Carlos Alicea-Antonetti, 36, and Ramon Ortiz, 57, who was a friend and someone who worked for Alicea-Antonetti’s landscaping business.
Police received a tip that the two men were at the Express Inn on Route 38 and that Perez might be with them. Ortiz was spotted walking down Route 38 and Alicea-Antonetti was found in a hotel room nearby, but there was no sign of Perez.
In the hotel room police found a cell phone with the battery missing and a box from a new cell phone. They also seized more than $7,000 in cash from Alicea-Antonetti. He gave police a statement telling them that they had buried Perez alive.
He said that he picked up Perez to take her to purchase a vehicle when they started to argue. Perez fell out of the van and she hurt herself, but she was able to get back in the vehicle. Perez was lying down in the back of the van due to her injuries.
Alicea-Antonetti picked up Ortiz, and the two tied Perez up and put duct tape over her mouth. They then took her to a wooded area, where Ortiz dug a hole and both men put Perez into that hole. This is when they poured lime over Perez and buried her alive.
Ortiz’s account was similar, he added that he didn’t know Perez was in the van until he heard her make some noise. She asked Ortiz to please help her, he said. He continued saying that Alicea-Antonetti, who is his boss, directed him to dig a hole. It was Ortiz who led the police to the grave after he could not verbally give them directions to where Perez was buried.
The medical examiner put the cause of death down as "asphyxiation" in a "homicide." The two men are held on $5 million “full cash” bond each. It was Perez’s sister who spoke to the media outside her home as people gathered for an impromptu vigil after hearing the horrendous way that Perez died.
Vanessa Castro said that he sister was a good woman, she was also very strong. She had worked hard and in two years after arriving from Nicaragua, she was able to purchase her own home. She was a good mother to her 21-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son.
She had come from Nicaragua about nine years ago and worked hard to enjoy the American dream. He sister said her only downfall was that she trusted people too easily and she didn’t see the “evil” in people, which ultimately led to her death. Castro said this while periodically wiping away her tears.