Churchill groom murder called "evil deed" - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs groom murder called "evil deed"

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Adan Perez (Photo from trainer Cecil Borel) Adan Perez (Photo from trainer Cecil Borel)

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB) -- Prayers were said Monday night for the groom found murdered at Churchill Downs -- and the backside community seems to mourn as one.

Family and friends of victim Adan Perez also prayed for swift justice.  Police reported no arrests in the case so far.

The crime has made international news because it happened either Saturday night or early Sunday, soon after the Kentucky Derby.

"We should all be sad. We should all be furious. Because this evil deed happened in our home," said Churchill Downs chaplain Ken Boehm.

He may have spoken for all who work the backside of the track -- and others watching from around the world.

He led prayers for 48-year-old Adan Perez, the groom found murdered in a horse barn early Sunday morning -- the morning after the Kentucky Derby.

The news brought a sad urgency to the regular Monday night worship at the backside chapel.

"Come on up and place an arm on him, place a hand on him and let him know that you care about him," Boehm said, inviting worshippers to greet Perez's son, Wilson, 19.

Wilson Perez is also a groom at the track and lived with his father and brother-in-law there.  Soon he was awash in more prayers, hugs and kind words.

He and his mother spent the day tending to details that eventually will lead to his father's funeral in Guatemala.  Estimated cost is $15,000; friends were working to set up a benefit fund at a local bank.

"We are as shocked by this as the outside community," Boehm said.

A Churchill Downs security guard found Perez's body in a barn Sunday morning.

Son Wilson could not reach his father by cell phone and became concerned.

Louisville police and the coroner's office would not release how Perez died.  It is one of many details they want to keep secret to protect the integrity of their investigation.  Right now, it would be one of the details only a killer would know.

They conducted an autopsy Monday morning.

However, they did say his body showed wounds that pointed to foul play.

Police will look at surveillance video from Saturday and early Sunday, to see if any confrontations or fights led to Perez's death.

"We know there were some altercations prior to, was he involved? We're not sure, and that's why we're trying to get those individuals who saw those altercations or may know what happened to come in and speak to us," said metro police homicide commander Lt. Barry Wilkerson.

Police are taking anonymous tips at 574-LMPD.

Perez worked for trainer Cecil Borel, the brother of jockey Calvin Borel.

Cecil Borel called Perez a kind man who loved his horses, took pride in his work and had no enemies that he knew of.

The Churchill Downs chapel also is accepting donations for the family.

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