Body Found in Car Trunk ID'd As Missing Mom

Erica Perez was last seen nearly a week ago.

Remains found in the trunk of a Honda Accord in Montebello have been identified as a 39-year-old mother who vanished with her four sons and husband nearly a week ago, police said Thursday.

Erica Perez was last seen Dec. 5.

An Amber Alert was issued for the couple’s four sons late Wednesday after Erica Perez’s body was found in the trunk of the family’s car.

Police said at a news conference her death was being investigated as a homicide.

Authorities took Daniel Perez, 43, into police custody Thursday morning after a dramatic standoff with police on a San Diego County highway overpass.

During the stand off, two of his sons got out of the car and ran to officers. The other two boys got out of the car with their father, and went to police after officers swarmed Perez.

Perez negotiated on a cellphone after a pursuit began when the car's lojack system signaled a "hit" around 8:30 a.m.

Daniel Perez has not been charged in connection with the killing of Erica Perez and is being returned to Montebello. He currently faces charges of child endangerment and parental abduction.

The Perez family, including mother Erica Perez, went missing Friday, and an Amber Alert was issued for the boys after a woman was found dead in the trunk of the Montebello family's Honda Accord Wednesday night.

Police have determined her cause of death. Montebello police said Daniel Perez is a person of interest in the death investigation.

Alex Hayden Perez, 6, Tristin Devin Perez, 8, Jaden Eric Perez, 9, and Jordan Dante Perez, 11, were taken to the CHP’s El Cajon station. A fifth child of the couple, a 14-year-old boy, was not involved in the situation and was not reported missing, police said.

Family members made a tearful plea Wednesday night for the safe return of the brothers.

Daniel and Erica Perez's marriage was unstable and has a history of domestic violence, their family told police.

"The domestic violence was on her part," Daniel Perez's aunt Billie Holguin said. "She had a boyfriend, and she admitted it to him, about the boyfriend. No matter what he wanted to try and make a life for his children and her."

"They had their issues," said Daniel Perez's cousin Nicholas Castillo, who lived with the couple for a short time two years ago. "He was more of a quiet person."

John Cádiz Klemack and Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.

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