Missing Woman Found Dead After Being Buried Alive by Landscaper: Cops

The body of a missing New Jersey woman was found Wednesday in a shallow grave, where police say she was buried alive by her landscaper and another man.

Fatima Perez was first reported missing Monday afternoon. Relatives told police Perez left her Camden home that morning with $8,000 in cash to buy a new car*. Carlos Alicea-Antonetti, a landscaper who worked for Perez's family, had reportedly agreed to drive her to pick up the car.

Two days later, Perez's body was found buried about 20 miles from her home. An autopsy revealed that she died of asphyxiation, and police said her mouth and eyes were covered with duct tape before she was buried.

On Thursday, Alicea-Antonetti and his alleged accomplice, Ramon Ortiz, were indicted on charges of first degree murder. Both reportedly confessed during their interviews with police.

From Alicea-Antonetti's statement, via the South Jersey Times:

He picked up Perez that morning in a van near her home to take her to buy the vehicle. They began arguing, and Perez fell out of the van, injuring herself. But she got back into the vehicle.

Alicea-Antonetti then picked up Ortiz while the victim lay in the back of the van. Both men tied her up and eventually placed duct tape over her mouth and eyes.

They drove southbound to a wooded area, where Ortiz began to dig a hole. The men put Perez in the hole, alive, poured lime on her and buried her. They tried to camouflage the grave with branches and debris.

And from Ortiz's statement:

Alicea-Antonetti picked him up at 1115 North 23rd Street in Camden, where Ortiz was cutting grass. He entered the van but did not realize at first that Perez was in the back because she was tied up and lying on the floor.

He noticed her only when she began to make a noise. She asked Ortiz to help her. But Alicea-Antonetti drove southbound, down Route 42 to the Black Horse Pike.

At some point, Alicea-Antonetti pulled off the roadway. Ortiz took a shovel from the van and dug the grave, as his boss directed him. Alive, Perez was covered with lime and buried.

Both are being held on $5 million bail on charges of first degree murder.

[Image via AP]