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Body identified as missing Marine wife

April 18, 2012 |  4:56 pm

Photo: Brittany Dawn Killgore was reported missing Saturday. Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's DepartmentA body found near Lake Skinner in Riverside County has been identified as that of 22-year-old Brittany Dawn Killgore, a Marine wife missing since Friday, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, 45, considered a "person of interest" in the case, pleaded not guilty Wednesday 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 he was 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.

"The case remains under review for potential additional charges,'' according to a spokesman for Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis.

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

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

The relationships, if any, among Lopez, Perez, and Brittany Killgore have not been revealed by detectives working the case. But relatives of Brittany Killgore told a newspaper in Farmington, Mo., that she had been set to attend a dinner cruise in San Diego Bay with Perez and others on Friday night.

Killgore's husband, Cory, is a Marine deployed to Afghanistan. He is returning to San Diego on emergency leave arranged by the Red Cross. His wife filed for divorce last week.

Perez and Cory Killgore were stationed at Camp Pendleton.


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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Brittany Dawn Killgore was reported missing Saturday. Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department