SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A woman killed in California this year while her husband, a U.S. Marine, was deployed in Afghanistan was the victim of television-inspired sadomasochist violence, search warrants filed by police and prosecutors showed on Thursday.
A seven-page note left by one of three suspects charged in the murder of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore led police to a “sex dungeon” in the basement of a home in Fallbrook, a small community adjacent to the Camp Pendleton military base north of San Diego.
The case has received intense media coverage in the San Diego area, home to both Camp Pendleton and a large naval base, where public sympathy over the death of the young wife of a deployed service member is high.
Killgore was last seen alive on April 13, just days after she had filed for divorce, heading out on what was supposed to be a dinner date with 45-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Louis Perez, police said.
Thirteen minutes after Perez picked her up, Killgore sent a text message to a friend with a single word: “HELP,” according to affidavits filed by San Diego Sheriff’s Department Detective Will Altenhof.
Several hours later, the unidentified friend received a message in response to her frantic attempts to try to contact Killgore saying she was enjoying a party and was fine, the search warrant showed. The friend told deputies it contained language Killgore never used before, and she did not believe it was genuine.
Killgore’s nude body was found four days later in a remote area of Riverside County, north of San Diego. Police believe she was killed in the Fallbrook home.
Her killer used power tools to try to dismember the body in the manner she had seen on “Dexter,” a television series about a serial killer, according to a confession note left by one of the suspects after a failed suicide attempt. That note is quoted in one of the affidavits.
Perez and his roommates Dorothy Grace Maraglino and Jessica Lynn Lopez have all pleaded not guilty to murder charges and are being held on $3 million bail each.
Perez told deputies he and Killgore went to downtown San Diego and he lost her at a club called Whiskey Girl. However, cell phone records for Perez and Killgore indicated they were in Fallbrook at the time, according to the search warrants.
Maraglino, 37, told deputies that she was a dominatrix, according to the search warrants. Lopez, 25, was interested in sadomasochism and had a collection of sex toys, according to the affidavits.
Prosecutors, deputies and Killgore’s family have stressed that Killgore was not a willing participant in the sex games at the Fallbrook home.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker