OAKDALE, LA (KPLC) - New developments in the case of Victoria Marie Perez, an Oakdale native who went missing in 2011.
Authorities believe remains found on Thursday are Perez and have upgraded charges for the person of interest in the case.
Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert said 32-year-old Pamela Causey-Fregia has been charged with 1st degree murder and 1st degree feticide.
Hebert said they received a credible tip earlier this week about the case, which led them to a home on Matthew Street in Oakdale. The home is owned by a member of Fregia's family.
Sheriff Hebert said they found remains on the property and with the assistance of Dr. Mary Manheim with the LSU FACES Lab have determined the remains to be human. DNA testing is still underway to determine if they are Perez. However,based on information they've received, Hebert is confident the remains are Perez.
Perez, who was 22-years-old and pregnant at the time, was last seen at the Rapides Medical Center in Alexandria on March 10, 2011.
According to Hebert, Causey was trying to convince her husband she was pregnant around the time of Perez's disappearance. Hebert said after the husband left her, Causey showed him a pregnancy test and sonogram. Not convinced, her husband left and went back to Texas. Hebert said despite this and the fact that most of her family believed she had a hysterectomy she continued the act.
Hebert said Causey went to Rapides Women's & Children's Hospital and approached Perez, offering her baby clothes to get her to return to Oakdale. He said Causey killed Perez with blunt force trauma at her home on North 7th Street Extension, then burned and buried her body on the property off Matthew Street.
Sheriff Hebert said all three of Causey's children, ages 10, 8, and 6 years old, were at the home during the time Perez was killed. The children were the ones that came forward and told law enforcement. Hebert said one of them was allegedly with Causey when she picked Perez up in Alexandria, and another with her when she dumped and burned the body. All have been interviewed and placed with Child Protective Services.
"Her youngest daughter went with her to Rapides Women's & Children's Hospital. Her mother was there as the girl put it to 'find a child,'" said Hebert.
When asked about the allegations Hebert said Causey first denied she even knew Perez.
"She later implicated herself in the crime and placed herself at the crime scene. She said she was with someone else who did it, but that she didn't actually kill her. She gave some name to us. We believe it's a fictitious name she made up because we have no evidence of this person," said Hebert, "Also, the kids said there was no one else at the home. We have not found a single statement or reference that the kids have made that we have found to be untrue."
"I want to applaud those children for coming forward. I can only imagine - both the emotional strain and what it would take, one to see your parent do such an act, then turn around at some point and have enough courage to report that fact," said Hebert.
Causey is scheduled to have her first court appearance on Monday.