Family, friends mourn slain Carina Saunders; investigators seek person of interest

As family and friends remembered the short life of Carina Saunders, investigators on Friday released no new information on the killing of the 19 year old, whose body was found stuffed in duffel bag behind a grocery store in Bethany, OK.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: October 22, 2011
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As family and friends remembered the short life of Carina Saunders, investigators on Friday released no new information on the killing of the 19-year-old, whose body was found stuffed in duffel bag behind a grocery store.

A memorial service for Saunders brought out hundreds to Mustang Church of the Nazarene in the city where Saunders sang in the varsity choir and graduated from high school in 2010.

Police confirmed Monday that a body found Oct. 13 in a field near the Homeland at NW 23 and Rockwell was Saunders'.

She last was seen a few days before her body was discovered.

Cody Perez, 21, of Oklahoma City, has been called a person of interest by the Bethany Police Department.

On his Facebook page, Carina's father, Richard Saunders, spoke harshly of how his daughter's life ended. He said it's a cruel world that allowed Carina to make the news for being killed while her killer “becomes famous.”

“She never even got to experience life, or ask what it was all about,” he said. “She was supposed to make a name for herself and leave her mark on society ... I love you and miss you baby girl.”

Saunders' obituary lists a host of family members and refers to her as “dear little one,” and, “the most beautiful baby (who) grew to be a sweet, calm, and loving child.”

Person of interest

Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole released a statement late Friday stating police still are conducting interviews and want to talk to Perez. Officials have named no suspects, and no arrests warrants have been issued.

KWTV-News 9 has reported Perez sold culinary knives to an anonymous pawnshop employee in Bethany for $50 about 1:30 p.m. Oct. 10, the day his mother told investigators she last saw her son.

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