The mother of a missing man police now call a “person of interest” in the slaying of Carina Saunders is desperate for anyone to come forth with information about her son.
Cody Perez, 21, was seen Oct. 10 after being dropped off at Platt College at Memorial Road and N May Avenue, police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said.
Officials said Perez may have left the state Oct. 11. He was last seen that day near Interstate 35 and Robinson Street in Norman. He may have been trying to hitchhike, possibly to California, police said
His mother, Rachel Laraway, spoke early Wednesday, hours before Bethany police announced that her son was believed to be connected to the slaying.
“It was a normal day. Just ‘see you later and call you for a ride.' He was supposed to go to work afterward, and it was like he just dropped off the face of the Earth. He has not been seen or heard from since,” Laraway said.
“He was seen going into the school, and no one has heard from him since,” she said.
“My son worked very, very hard to get his paycheck, and he hasn't even picked up his paycheck or anything. He's just gone,” Laraway said.
Perez did not have a car — he has no driver's license — nor did he carry a cellphone on him.
“He didn't have any clothes with him. It's not like he could have walked off or anything like that,” Laraway said.
Wednesday, police said they were looking for two persons of interest, Perez and Kyle Tweed. Wednesday afternoon, police said they talked to Tweed and he no longer was considered to be connected to 19-year-old Saunders, whose dismembered body was found behind a Homeland grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell Avenue.
“All I can say is what it says on the police report. I have stated in the police report that my son had been threatened,” she said.
“I don't want to do anything that would hinder finding my son or their investigation at all,” she said.
“My goal right now is that he returns home to us. We just hope that if anybody knows of his whereabouts to contact the police and let them know,” she said.
Laraway said he worked at the Olive Garden just down the road from his school.
“He got out of school and walked straight over to work and he went from 8 in the morning until 3 and then (worked) from 5 to close, so he had full days,” she said.
“I know there is a lot of stuff on the air, and I know that Cody's past looks bad and stuff, but he was working hard to change things around,” she said.
“Right now, we're looking for someone who is missing. He's my son and he's a father,” she said.
Perez was wearing a black chef's hat, a white culinary jacket, blue and white checkered pants, and black shoes. He carried a culinary knife set and a backpack with a schoolbook in it. He carried a state identification card, and a chain around his neck with the “hatchetman” on it, a symbol made famous by rap group Insane Clown Posse, Laraway said.
Perez, who is heavily tattooed, is white, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. Anyone who has seen him is asked to call 911 immediately.