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18-year-old accused of kidnapping, killing and dumping body in Phoenix desert area

Jerssen Perez.png
Posted at 9:20 AM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 01:39:48-04

PHOENIX — An 18-year-old man is facing murder charges for allegedly kidnapping and killing a man in north Phoenix.

At about 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, Phoenix police officers were called to a home near 7th Avenue and Union Hills Drive for reports of a kidnapping.

Investigators say the victim, identified as 19-year-old Oscar Ortega, was reported by his family as being kidnapped.

Officers learned the victim left his girlfriend's house earlier that morning, around 2:00 a.m. and was seen being taken at gunpoint by a suspect who forced him into a vehicle on security footage.

The suspect, later identified as 18-year-old Jerssen Perez, shot Ortega inside the vehicle and then disposed of the body in an open desert area, according to Phoenix police.

According to court documents, Perez allegedly confessed to the murder to family members and gave them the gun used, and they secured it for officers. His family also noticed Perez had on clothes with red stains, which they also turned over to police.

Officers located Perez near the scene of the kidnapping later that day and arrested him.

During his interview with detectives, police say he waited outside of his ex-girlfriend's house until her current boyfriend, Ortega came out. After kidnapping him at gunpoint, Perez noticed that he was texting on his phone and shot him in the vehicle multiple times after attempting to take the phone from him.

Phoenix police say he then drove his body about 25 miles north of the 101 and into a desert and dumped it along with shell casings and other evidence related to the crime.

Officers had Perez lead them to the location of the body and evidence.

Court documents also state Perez admitted to planning the homicide for over a month.

He has been booked into jail on first-degree premeditated murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, abandoning and concealing a body.

His bond has been set for $1 million.