It happens all the time, for whatever reason parents just aren’t the best people for their children to be with and a grandparent, or aunt or sister ect… end up raising a child/children.  That was the case for Noe Perez.  When Noe was only 8 years old he came to live with his sister, Adelaida Pena and her husband.

Screenshot of Adelaida as she's interviewed about Noe

She didn’t treat him any different as she would her own child. She loved her brother very much.  He was a good kid and never gave her any kind of trouble, not when he was younger or as he got older.  I thought that was pretty rare considering he was 8 years old when he came to live with her and her husband after living in who knows what kind of conditions.  Unfortunately, and at no fault of the child, when they’ve been exposed to an inappropriate parenting environment at an early age they tend to have behavioral problems later on in their childhood and often on into their adulthood as well.  However, we don’t know the circumstances of the environment he was exposed to in the years before he came to live with his sister.  It could have been that something grave happened to one or both of his parents, a financial situation may have been to blame, regardless we don’t know who was raising him or under what conditions before the age of 8 but what we do know is that his sister raised him like he was her own and he was always a very good kid.

 

According to Adelaida, even as he grew into a teenager he was never any trouble and in the time before he went missing they actually grew very close.  That’s right, it’s that kind of story.  Noe Perez, who was 19 years old at the time,  went missing from a house he was staying at with friends at 403 Orchard Drive in Odessa, Tx, the evening of March 6th, 1990.

Screenshot of empty lot where Orchard Street house used to be

He was reportedly last seen that night around 11 p.m. as he was driven off in the back of a black suburban with two other acquaintances.  When he didn’t return home the next morning his sister was frantic and her husband immediately feared the worst.  His sister knew that he had tickets to a wrestling match in Midland that evening and he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  They knew something was wrong very quickly and Noe was reported missing within 24 hours of his disappearance.  He wasn’t the kind of kid who was just out of contact for an unspecified amount of time.  No, he was close with his family and when they couldn’t get ahold of him and couldn’t figure out where he was they sprung into action.  Having reported him missing to authorities within 24 hours of the last time anyone saw him, his family decided they would play detective.  They started talking to his friends and that weekend relatives came to help in the search for Noe Perez.  It was during that search that a pair of boots were found on Comanche Trail near the park in Odessa.  Detectives were called immediately and they came out with dogs.  Adelaida, Noe’s sister, positively identified the boots as belonging to Noe, they were the ones he was wearing the night he went missing.

Screenshot Comanche Trail

Two years go by and Noe Perez’s family hear nothing of their loved ones whereabouts.  Police didn’t have much to go on and his case was at a standstill until October 14th, 1992.  In a field south of Odessa a man hangs his hat on a bush.  He had been out walking his dogs on his property when he almost stumbled over what he thought was part of a Halloween skeleton prop.  It was October so spooks and pranks were for sure in season but when he took a closer look he realized it wasn’t a holiday decoration.  He hung his hat on a nearby bush to mark the find and headed to the house to call authorities.  After returning to the site with a sheriff’s deputy the man then noticed two forearm bones shooting out of the ground a few feet from the skull in the most popular place for remains to be found, a shallow grave.  More bones were located near the site as well, likely scattered by animals.

Screenshot of Springer at the location he found the skeletal remains of Noe Perez

Michael Springer tells The Odessa American that a pair of boots, pants and a shirt were also found near the grave where the skeletal remains were wrapped in a piece of carpet.  Springer and his wife had lived in the house on the property for seven years.  He had ridden his horses  and walked around his property countless times.  Springers wife, Patty, tells reporters that “It could have been out there before we ever moved out here”.  The property is 72-acres and the family was used to catching people hunting and using their land to dump animals as they would frequently run across the weathered carcasses but this was their first set of actual human remains.  The body was skeletal remains, aside from the clothing found there was no way to determine if they were male or female, let alone who they belonged to so they were sent to a forensic anthropologist.

Screenshot of announcement of Forensic Anthropologist findings

After about a week the remains are determined to be that of man who was killed by gunshot.  The man was in his 20’s.  Police did not release any other information in regards to where the man had been shot or what type of weapon had been used.  Once the gender of the remains are determined the Odessa Police Department begin to compare what they’ve found with the seven outstanding missing persons cases.

Screenshot of Adelaida Pena

On Halloween 1992 it is reported to the public that the identity of the skeletal remains found on a property south of Odessa have been positively matched by dental records to a missing persons case that has gone unsolved for two years.  Adelaida Pena is devastated to learn that she will never see her brother, who she raised as a son, ever again.  The remains belong to 19 year old Noe Perez who was last seen in the back seat of a vehicle with two other men.

 

Arrest warrants are issued and days from the positive identification of Noe’s remains for 23 year old Christopher Huerta Ramirez and 20 year old James Robert Garcia.  The charge is capital murder.  Fortunately, Ramirez was already in custody at the time on an unrelated conviction.  Garcia, however skipped town.  He was able to avoid apprehension until November 5th when he is found having moved to Pueblo, Colo.  He had been staying in a hotel with a woman when the Pueblo, Colo S.W.A.T. team is able to bring him in with no incidents.

Turns out Garcia has already been arrested for attempted murder.  Just the month before Noe went missing he was arrested on a charge of attempted murder and posted $2,500 bond. During a fight on the afternoon of February 18th, 1990, Garcia stabs Michael Hernandez in the chest , the right shoulder and the right forearm.  He turns himself in to the sheriff’s department on this occasion.  I’m guessing when his actions escalated on the evening of March 6th, he realized he would likely not be able to just bond back out and decided not to turn himself him this time.  In August of 1991 Garcia, 19 years old at the time, pleads guilty to aggravated assault and is sentenced to five years’ probation and a $500 fine.  Through a probable cause statement it is discovered that Garcia called Perez earlier in the evening on March 6th, 1990 and said he was coming over to drink some beer.  Perez told Garcia no but he showed up to the home he was staying at anyway. It was around 11 p.m. when a black suburban shows up to the residence.  Garcia knocks on the door while Hernandez waits in the vehicle and at some point Perez ends up in the back seat and is last seen driving away with the two men.

Because kidnapping was involved in the murder, the offense is listed as capital murder and can carry with it the death penalty.

Now get ready because this is going to make you hella pissed….in January of 1993, James Robert Garcia is sentenced to six years in prison and a $117.50 fine on an aggravated assault charge or it could have been because of the revocation of his probation as a result of previous convictions.

A man named Christopher Ramirez is indicted in August of 1991 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/habitual and is reported to be in prison on $15,000 bond.  Ramirez has a considerably longer rap sheet than Garcia with over 15 arrests (that I could find) on his record.  I didn’t find any other information on Ramirez as far as convictions in regards to Perez’s murder but I do know from the arrests on his record that if he did in fact go to trial for the murder of Noe Perez, which he may not have, and if he was convicted at that trial he still couldn’t have spent more than a hand full of years in prison.  I’m not 100% sure but it looks to me that he didn’t even go to trial.  There is nothing related to Noe Perez’s murder on his record, among the many arrests on his record not one is in relation to any kind of homicide.

I can’t believe that there wasn’t even a trial.  The only thing I can theorize is that even though authorities had enough evidence to issue warrants for the two men believed to be responsible for the murder of Noe Perez, perhaps when they took what they had to the district attorney it wasn’t deemed enough to proceed any further.  I can’t even begin to understand what Noe’s family must have being going through to have searched for him immediately, not known what happened to him for two years, find out that all hope was gone as skeletal remains found thrown out in a field are positively matched as belonging to him and the cause of death was homicide, and then to watch the men responsible never truly be made to face any kind of significant consequences.

A few things I still haven’t figured out:

If boots belonging to Noe were found by the family after his disappearance on Comanche Trail, does that mean the clothing they found with the remains didn’t belong to him?

It is reported in the U.S. Public Records Index that at some point Noe Perez’s address was 1406 N. Lauderdale Ave Odessa, Tx……James Robert Garcia shows up in the papers “Courtbeat” section on January 23rd, 1993 for aggravated assault, likely this is what the charge is reduced to after he is arrested for the capital murder of Noe and it’s found that there isn’t enough evidence to go to trial with. This is what I said I found in relation to Noe’s murder and that all Garcia received was six years in prison and $117.50 fine.  Well, back in the day when they put stuff like that in the paper, along with the arrest and/or conviction information they also published the persons address, just right there in the paper.  His address is reported at being 1406 N. Lauderdale Ave.  Ummmm…..what?! They lived together?

I wish I could find his sister, Adelaida, so many questions.