BETHANY — The mother of a 19-year-old woman whose dismembered body was found in a duffel bag told police Oct. 10 she was “terrified that something has happened to her daughter.”
Also, a missing 21-year-old man is now believed to be connected to the case.
Carina Saunders' body was found Thursday inside a duffel bag in a field behind the Homeland at NW 23 and Rockwell Avenue. Four days earlier, her cousin reported receiving threatening text messages involving Saunders, according to an Oklahoma City police report.
The cousin, Kathryn Jo Bloodworth, 22, of Oklahoma City, reported the threatening text messages Oct. 9. The next day, Bloodworth and Saunders' mother, Marjie Queen, 41, reported Saunders missing. Bloodworth said Saunders had been staying with her for about a week before she last saw her on Sept. 28.
According to the report, Bloodworth dropped Saunders off at Interstate 40 and Rockwell Avenue on Sept. 28. Saunders left with a man Bloodworth described as white, about 40 years old with gray hair. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 190 pounds.
Saunders got into a car described as a mid-1990s model blue or gray Chevrolet Blazer with 22-inch rims.
Queen told a police officer she was terrified something had happened to her daughter. Bloodworth, contacted Tuesday, said she did not want to say anything more. Queen has declined to make statements to the media.
A law enforcement source who asked not to be named told The Oklahoman that police believe missing person Cody Perez, 21, of Oklahoma City, may be connected to the Saunders case. He has not been named as a suspect. In an interview late Tuesday, Rachel Hope Laraway, Perez's mother, said she is concerned for her son's safety.
“He just dropped off the face of the earth,” she said.
According to police, Perez has been missing since Oct. 10 — the same day Saunders was reported missing — after going to Platt College at W Memorial Road and N May Avenue, where he is a culinary arts student. Perez works at Olive Garden, also on Memorial Road.
Laraway would not confirm earlier reports that her son may have known the slain woman.
“I cannot tell you at this point,” she said.
Laraway said Bethany police told her not to comment on the Saunders case.
“All I can say is what it says on the police report. I have stated to the police that my son had been threatened,” she said.
“I don't want to say anything that could harm their investigation or hurt finding my son,” she said.
Perez has numerous tattoos, including the words “Hatchet Man” on the right side of his body, and “Clown Love” on his right arm. He is about 5-feet, 11-inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. Perez did not have a car or a cellphone with him, according to police. Police ask anyone with information about Perez's whereabouts to call 911.
Perez was last seen wearing his blue and white culinary uniform with checkered pants, and was carrying a black case with knives in it. He had a black chef hat, a white jacket and black shoes.
“My goal right now is that he returns home to us,” Laraway said.
When last seen by her cousin, Saunders was wearing gray Victoria's Secret pants with the word “pink” written on the back and a white muscle shirt, the police report states. Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole said Tuesday there has been no evidence Saunders was killed where she was found. He said Monday night that Saunders was last seen on Oct. 8 or 9 near NW 41 and MacArthur Boulevard.
Medical examiner's spokeswoman Amy Elliott said Tuesday an autopsy had not been completed, but Saunders' death has been ruled a homicide. The cause of death is pending, Elliott said.
A profile of Saunders' killer could be developed soon at the FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va. Clues about Saunders' death will be sent to FBI profilers in a behavioral analysis unit, said FBI Special Agent Clay Simmonds in Oklahoma City.
The FBI offered similar assistance to state investigators in the 2009 killing of the two girls in Weleetka, Simmonds said.
“Our agents have dealt with a number of murders over the years such as this, and from the knowledge we've gained, we try to develop some kind of profile,” Simmonds said.
Simmonds said Bethany investigators, assisted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, will work with agents at FBI headquarters.
The combination of local law officers collecting evidence and the analysis of the evidence by FBI scientists hopefully will generate some leads, he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Bethany police at 789-2323.