Pendleton Marine set to be arraigned Thursday in the murder of M - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Pendleton Marine set to be arraigned Thursday in the murder of Marine wife

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Brittany Killgore Brittany Killgore
Louis Ray Perez Louis Ray Perez

VISTA (CNS) - A Camp Pendleton-based Marine already jailed on an unrelated charge was re-arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murdering a 22-year-old North County military wife whose body was found dumped alongside a rural road in Riverside County a week ago.

Louis Ray Perez, 45, was re-booked at Vista Jail Tuesday afternoon in connection with the death of Brittany Killgore of Fallbrook. He was scheduled to be arraigned on the homicide charge Thursday afternoon.

Perez, a staff sergeant who has been jailed for 10 days on a weapon-theft count, is the second person accused in the death of Killgore, whose body was discovered last Tuesday near Lake Skinner. A woman who lived near her, 25-year-old Jessica Lynn Lopez, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge on Thursday.

Authorities have declined to reveal Killgore's cause of death or disclose what allegedly implicates the suspects in the slaying.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which announced Perez's re-arrest, directed all questions to the District Attorney's Office. Tanya Sierra, a spokeswoman for the latter agency, would only say the case was under review and that prosecutors had yet to file further charges against the jailed serviceman.

Killgore went missing April 13, allegedly after meeting up with Perez. Her estranged husband was serving a combat deployment to Afghanistan at the time.

Perez was questioned in connection with the woman's disappearance before being arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen military assault rifle.

Until Tuesday afternoon, authorities referred to Perez, a 16-year military veteran assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, only as a "person of interest" in Killgore's death.

A few hours before the victim's body was recovered, detectives took Lopez into custody in San Diego. Information gleaned from her arrest led authorities to the remote spot where the slain woman was found, sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser told reporters previously, but declined to elaborate.

At Lopez's arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza said she had been found at a Rosecrans Street motel, suffering from self-inflicted wounds. A suicide note was in the rented room, he said.

When asked how Killgore had died, the prosecutor would only say that she was a victim of "homicidal violence."

Authorities have refused to disclose the alleged connections among the victim and the two suspects. Lopez and Perez reportedly once lived in the same Fallbrook apartment, about a half-mile from the rental residence Killgore shared with her husband.

On the night of Killgore's disappearance, she was supposed to have gone out with Perez and his girlfriend on a dinner cruise, but it was unclear if the plan came together, her grandmother told a hometown newspaper.

Killgore filed for divorce two weeks ago, according to court records. Marine Corps officials agreed to send her Camp Pendleton-based husband home from Afghanistan following her disappearance.

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