POLK CITY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office said a man accused of killing his 74-year-old aunt in Polk City is in custody at a Texas jail.
During a press conference on October 15, Sheriff Grady Judd said 74-year-old Perfecta Paz was reported missing by her sister shortly before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The sister told deputies that she had last seen Perfecta early Tuesday morning before leaving to work. When she returned later that afternoon, the sister said she saw Aroldo Paz, 39, in the yard and he told her Perfecta had left. Since Aroldo had lived with Perfecta and her for the last seven months, the sister didn't think anything of it.
On Wednesday, after returning from work, Perfecta's sister noticed that Aroldo was gone and had taken all his belongings and car from the home. She immediately called the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
After arriving at the home, deputies began looking for Perfecta in the woods but were unable to locate her. Deputies were also unable to get in contact with Aroldo.
On Thursday, deputies returned to continue their search. While looking at the fence surrounding the home, a detective found a soft spot where there was "some freshly disturbed soil."
"So he gets post hole diggers and he digs a pilot hole and pulls out a woman's slipper," Sheriff Judd said. "The woman's slipper he pulls out of the ground matches the description of the shoes that Perfecta was last seen wearing. So obliviously, our homicide team gets there and they start to excavate what we now know is a gravesite."
During the investigation, another relative told deputies that Perfecta "disclosed that she wanted to move out because she and Aroldo were not getting along and they were always fighting with each other."
According to Sheriff Judd, Perfecta is the aunt of Aroldo and she adopted him as a child after his mother died. He added that Aroldo has no criminal history other than illegal entry into the country in 2003 from Honduras.
The sheriff's office said on Tuesday that Aroldo was in custody in the Harris County Jail on no bond. The Polk County Sheriff's Office is filing for extradition.
The sheriff's office said they received a tip via Heartland Crime Stoppers regarding Aroldo's possible location in Houston and they passed that on to U.S. Marshals who found him and took him into custody on Monday.
Detectives with the sheriff's office flew to Texas where they interviewed Aroldo. The sheriff's office said he gave inconsistent statements before ultimately admitting that he beat his aunt to death.
"We thank the U.S. Marshals for their professionalism and successful capture of Aroldo Paz. This is the beginning of making sure he is held accountable for this brutal and senseless murder," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Our continued thoughts and prayers are with Perfecta Paz Paz's family."