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Arrest in murder of Torrance woman

October 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Bernardino homicide investigators announced the arrest of a Redondo Beach man for the murder of 28-year-old Cori Desmond.Desmond's body was discovered Feb. 16 in a plastic bag along a snow-covered roadway in Running Springs. While investigators would not discuss the cause of death, they said it was sexual in nature.

In a press conference Friday, investigators said that two calls to their tip hotline from an anonymous caller implicated 35-year-old Tony Lopez Perez in Desmond's murder. Perez was called to headquarters, questioned and booked.

Mark Desmond, Cori's father, is relieved.

"I'm glad he's caught and that nobody else is in jeopardy of getting hurt," said Desmond. "I can't bring my daughter back, but it could prevent it from happening again in San Bernardino."

Compelling evidence was reportedly found in the car Perez owned in February but sold shortly after the murder.

"The information was that Tony Perez, soon after the murder, was scrubbing and cleaning the inside of his Dodge Durango and sold his vehicle on the 4th of March to a dealership in the Los Angeles area," said Lt. Frank Gonzales, San Bernardino County's Sheriff's Department.

"We can be sure to argue no bail at the time of arraignment," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Mark Ramos. "This man does not belong on the street." Ramos will file murder charges against Perez.

There were low points at times during the investigation when a number of callers offered information that led nowhere. Then, the two anonymous tips put the homicide detectives back on track.

Perez is a restaurant manager.

Cori Desmond's father said that he does not believe that his daughter knew Perez before the night of her death.

Perez is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Mark Desmond indicated that going through the judicial procedures that will follow are going to be a very difficult time for him.

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