Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Murder-suicide - After a fight with her husband
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: February 6, 2013
Date of birth: 1989
Victim profile: Her daughter, Nevaeh Morales, 4; and son Erick Perez, 1
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting herself the same day
photo gallery

Denver girl shot by mom goes home, healing aided by family love

By Nic Turiciano - The Denver Post

April 18, 2013

Three-year-old Isabel Perez loves to dance and play with her stuffed animals — and she even has a bit of an attitude.

None of that is uncommon among little girls. Then again, most weren't in a coma two months ago.

Police say Isabel's mother, Mayra, shot her three children then herself in the early morning of Feb. 6. Isabel, shot in the head, was the only survivor.

"When everything happened, we heard nothing good," said Isabel's grandmother Alma Bernal. "Sad things and 'If she makes it.' If, if, if, all the time, so for the first week that I got here, I was afraid to lose her, too."

"If" soon disappeared from the conversations.

Bella, as her family calls her, was discharged from Children's Hospital Colorado on Thursday afternoon. She is moving to Carlsbad, N.M., to live with her dad, Ricky Perez, and Bernal.

Doctors who treated Isabel at Denver Health Medical Center , where she received care until she was transferred to Children's in late February, had called her immediate recovery a miracle.

Such progress has continued, said Children's pediatric rehabilitation specialist Dr. Mike DiChiaro.

Isabel can speak, move her arms and sit unassisted. She can't yet walk without help, but DiChiaro said there is a "good chance" she will be able to in the future.

Isabel's recovery will probably take years to complete, he said.

"She has been a complete delight. She is just a super-sweet girl," DiChiaro said. "You can really feel the love from her family, and I think that so much drives this degree of recovery."

And while her physical recovery is essential, Isabel's family expects her to be in therapy to properly deal with the shooting for years to come, Alma said.

"When she sees pictures of the family," Bernal said, "you can tell that she remembers some of it."


Denver woman who shot children, self used two guns

By Sadie Gurman - The Denver Post

February 25, 2013

A northeast Denver woman who police said shot her three children before killing herself used two guns, court records show.

Mayra Perez, 23, used a shotgun and a handgun in the Feb. 6 shootings, Denver police homicide detectives wrote in an application to search the family's home in the 4900 block of North Pearl Street.

Perez, her older daughter, Nevaeh Morales, 4, and her son, Erick Perez, 1, died of gunshot wounds. Her other daughter, 2-year-old Isabel Perez, continues to recover from a gunshot to the head. She was transferred Monday from Denver Health Medical Center to Children's Hospital Colorado.

The search-warrant affidavit and its inventory offered new glimpses into the shootings, which confounded Mayra Perez's relatives in Canutillo, Texas. Her husband, Ricky Perez, told detectives they had argued the night before and that he went to a friend's house to cool off. The friends also told police he had stayed with them that night.

When he returned home at about 6 a.m. to take the children to school, he found their bodies inside a bedroom and called 911, the affidavit says.

Mayra Perez had a shotgun in her lap. An officer also noticed a small-caliber handgun on a mattress.

Detectives recovered shotgun shells, spent casings and spent bullets inside the home, according to an inventory.


Doctors say condition of Denver girl shot by mother a "miracle"

By Nic Turiciano - The Denver Post

February 22, 2013

Doctors caring for Isabel Perez in the hours after she was shot in the head by her mom weren't sure she would survive, but the 2-year-old girl is opening and moving her eyes and has begun to move one of her arms.

"I don't usually use the word 'miracle,' but if you can ever use it, this would be an example," said Dr. Ken Winston, the neurosurgeon treating Isabel at Denver Health Medical Center. "She's doing extremely well, wonderfully well, given the severity of her injury."

Police said Isabel's mother, Mayra Perez, 23, shot her in the head in the early morning of Feb. 6. Perez also killed her 1-year-old son Erick Perez and daughter Nevaeh Morales, 4, before turning the gun on herself, police say.

Isabel was in a coma until Feb. 17, but her interaction and playfulness have increased dramatically since she opened her eyes last week, said Dr. Margaret Clarke, Isabel's pediatric intensive-care physician.

"She's a feisty young girl," Clarke said. "She's been a feisty young girl from the get-go, as I understand from her family."

Denver Health's director of pediatric surgery and trauma services, Dr. Denis Bensard , said credit for Isabel's steady recovery should go to the paramedics who treated her after she was found in her northeast Denver home.

"When I heard that word 'miracle,' I remembered the words of Louis Pasteur, who said, 'Chance favors the prepared mind,' " Bensard said. "I would say in this case, the miracle favors the prepared team, and that's certainly what she had."

Isabel will be transferred to Children's Hospital Colorado early next week. Her recovery likely will take years, Winston said.

Members of Isabel's family did not attend Thursday's news conference but released a statement thanking the paramedics, doctors and nurses who have cared for her at Denver Health, as well as members of the public who have supported the family since the tragedy occurred.

"From the family in Colorado Springs who sent us pizza in the hospital to eat, to the prayers and letters we've received from as far as Peru," they said, "our family is grateful for the prayers and kindness we've felt from the community."


Denver police: Mother shot kids and then killed herself

By Sadie Gurman - The Denver Post

February 7, 2013

Mayra Perez's relatives learned Thursday what they had already feared: The northeast Denver woman shot her three children and then herself. What they might never know is why.

Denver police confirmed that Perez, 23, killed two of her children, critically wounded a third and then killed herself. Two-year-old Isabel Perez remains in a deep coma.

"What's done is done," said Perez's brother, Tony Nuñez. "Whatever reason drove her to this, it's going to be in God's hands. He'll be the judge of her. We have to focus our prayers and hopes on my little niece."

Nuñez spoke at a news conference at Denver Health Medical Center, where Isabel is being treated.

"We're working with our doctors to keep her supported at this point," said Dr. Claudia Kunrath of the hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Isabel's father, Ricky Perez, spent Tuesday night at a friend's place after arguing with his wife.

Police said he returned home just before 7 a.m. Wednesday to find her body and those of her daughter, Nevaeh Morales, 4; and son Erick Perez, 1. Nevaeh suffered multiple gunshot wounds, while her mother and brother each died of a single gunshot, the Denver Medical Examiner's Office said.

Paramedics rushed Isabel from the family's home in the 4900 block of North Pearl Street. Ricky Perez told The Denver Post he had been by his daughter's bedside but was too distraught to comment further.

"He's the one who made the call to us," said Denver police major-crimes Cmdr. Ronald Saunier. "He's been very cooperative throughout this."

The commander offered few new glimpses into the attack Thursday, declining to discuss what evidence and any weapons detectives recovered.

Nor would Saunier say whether investigators had determined a motive for the killings, which stunned the woman's relatives and left neighbors to wonder about the seemingly happy family that walked their dog and rode their bikes around the block. A ribbon of yellow tape that blocked their access Wednesday was gone, allowing passers-by to peer into a yard strewn with children's toys.

Mayra Perez's relatives in Cunatillo, Texas, have said the couple sometimes quarreled, but they saw nothing in their recent interactions with her that gave them pause.

"I want to ask for a prayer to guide us through the hard times we're going through," Ricky Perez's cousin, Edgar Munoz, said at the news conference. Neither he nor Nuñez took reporters' questions.


Details emerge about family in Denver shooting that left 3 dead

By Sadie Gurman - The Denver Post

February 6, 2013

Mayra Perez called her mother Tuesday night to get a recipe for gorditas. She also quarreled with her husband, who left for the night to cool off.

By early morning, Perez and two of her children were dead, a third was in critical condition and her relatives were struggling to understand what happened in the family's northeast Denver home.

"I got a phone call at 7 a.m.," said Perez's sister, Liliana Castro.

It was her sister's husband, Ricky Perez, who told her he had found the bodies when he returned home Wednesday morning.

"He just told me he needed to tell me something, but he didn't know how to say it," Castro said. "I asked him, 'What happened?' He's like, 'I don't know, I don't know.' He couldn't talk. He just hung up."

Denver police officers were called to the home in the 4900 block of Pearl Street at 6:55 a.m. for reports of a shooting. Officials did not identify the people whom officers found dead inside, but relatives said they were Perez, 22; her daughter, Nevaeh Morales, 6; and son, Erick Perez, 2.

A third child, Isabel Perez, 3, underwent surgery at Denver Health Medical Center, where police Cmdr. Ronald Saunier said she was in "extremely critical condition."

Ricky Perez and other relatives were with her at the hospital Wednesday night, Castro said.

Police had made no arrests and had "no reason to suspect a killer is on the loose," police spokesman Lt. Matt Murray said earlier in the day.

"At this time, we're not looking for any suspects," Saunier said later Wednesday. He would not elaborate, but said, "We have some questions we still need to answer. ... We still need to complete the investigation."

By Wednesday evening, Saunier said detectives planned to search the house, and investigators from the Denver Medical Examiner's Office had arrived to help piece together what happened.

"It was a horrific scene," Saunier said. "Anytime you have kids involved, it's horrible. It plays on the heartstrings of anyone involved."

Relatives, too, were at a loss. Irene Nuñez, Mayra Perez's cousin, said detectives had notified the family but had not told them much.

Speaking from Perez's mother's house in Canutillo, Texas, Nuñez said her cousin was a doting mother. The couple moved to Denver a little more than a year ago for Ricky Perez's job in construction.

"I think they were having arguments," she said. "We just know they had been having problems."

But Perez seemed OK on Tuesday, when she called her mother for recipes. The children seemed happy, too. Nevaeh had just started school. Neighbors said they often saw the kids riding their bikes and walking their dog. Footage from television news helicopters showed a yard littered with toys.

"They were friendly; we didn't hear them fighting," said Joann Cobb, who lives nearby. She said the family moved in about three months ago. "I'm in such a shock. They were just a happy little family."

Another neighbor, Rosalinda Bustillos, said her father-in-law heard a couple of gunshots at about 5 a.m.

"It's just scary because we all know each other around here, and we've been here several years," Bustillos said. "This has never happened around here, and I never thought it would."

Saunier said he had no indication that officers had been called to the house before for problems.

About 60 people gathered Wednesday night in Argo Park, a few blocks from the family's home, as a cold rain fell on grief-stricken faces. Most were members of Providence Bible Church. Others lived in the neighborhood, but none said they knew the family directly.

"I can't even imagine what the father is feeling," said pastor Pepe Rojas. "He was working, and this terrible tragedy happened in his home."



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