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Prosecutor seeks public's help in solving Marine wife's slaying

April 19, 2012 | 11:11 am


San Diego County's top prosecutor asked for the public's help Thursday in solving the slaying of Brittany Dawn Killgore, the wife of a Marine whose body was found this week in Riverside County.

"This case has shaken many in San Diego County and many in the military community at Camp Pendleton," Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis told a morning news conference, asking tipsters to call Crime Stoppers at (858) 580-8477 with any information.

Arraignment is set for Thursday afternoon for Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, on a charge of killing Killgore.  Lopez was arrested Tuesday at a San Diego motel; she had attempted to kill herself and left a suicide note, authorities said.

On Wednesday, Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, 45, still considered a "person of interest" in the case, pleaded not guilty in the Vista branch of San Diego County Superior Court to charges of receiving stolen property and possession of a stolen assault rifle. Bail was set at $500,000.

Perez was arrested Sunday while being interviewed about the disappearance of Killgore after San Diego County sheriff's deputies spotted an assault rifle that had been reported stolen. He was uncooperative when asked about Killgore, officials said.

Dumanis declined to reveal any details about the case. The San Diego County medical examiner confirmed Wednesday that a body found Tuesday near Lake Skinner in Riverside County is that of Killgore but did not reveal the cause of death.

Dumanis said it is possible that additional charges could be filed against Perez and Lopez.

Detectives have not revealed the relationships, if any, among Lopez, Perez and Killgore. But Killgore's relatives told a newspaper in Farmington, Mo., that she had been set to take a dinner cruise on San Diego Bay with Perez and others Friday night.

Killgore's husband, Marine Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore, is returning to San Diego on emergency leave from Afghanistan arranged by the Red Cross after his wife's disappearance. Brittany Killgore had filed for divorce last week.

Perez is thought to be the last person seen with Killgore, according to the sheriff's department. For two days, search and rescue team members scoured a canyon north of Fallbrook where Killgore lived.

Perez and Cory Killgore were stationed at Camp Pendleton.

"Answers will come in time as this case makes its way through the criminal justice system," Dumanis said.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego