NUECES COUNTY – New details are emerging in the case of a woman found dead in a ditch near Petronila. Her boyfriend sits in jail charged with her murder.
Yvonne Villanueva, 28, was reported missing in early June . A few days later, local police found her body in a drainage ditch on County Road 63 and County Road 20 just south of Petronila.
On July 23rd, Austin Police arrested her boyfriend Trinidad Perez in Travis County and booked into the Nueces County Jail on July 25th. Today, the arrest report was made public. In it, a witness account details the alleged crime.
The report notes that a family member who is a witness told police that Perez asked for help moving a couch to the garage at a home on Weber Road. The witness told Perez it was heavy. Perez told the witness he had something he needed to tell him, something he needed to “take to his grave”. Perez told the witness that Villanueva threatened to have him beat up so, he confessed to strangling her in his room while she was laying in the bed. He then placed Villanueva’s body in the couch and nailed it shut.
The witness claimed to be afraid and didn’t check the couch for her body. Instead, the witness contacted police the same day. With a warrant, police searched the home and garage. They found stuffing from furniture inside a small trash can in the kitchen.
Investigators contacted Villanueva’s family who said they had not seen her since June 4th. Officers tried contacting Villanueva but her phone was off. On June 10th, detectives called Perez. He answered his phone one time and spoke briefly. Then, he hung up the phone and didn’t answer it again. The following day, officers pinged the phone and found he was near New Braunfels.
On June 13th, officers looking for a possible place where Perez dumped Villanueva found a couch on County Road 63. It was tossed into a drainage ditch and laying on its side. They said “a very strong and pungent” odor was coming from the furniture. Officers cut the couch open and found Villanueva’s body inside.
Meanwhile, Perez is facing a murder charge and an assault charge stemming from a May 15th incident with Villanueva. Perez’ bond has been set at $550,000. His case has been assigned to the 214th District Court, which now oversees domestic violence cases in Nueces County.
No hearings have been scheduled in his case.