Kentucky Derby murder remains unsolved one year later
LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Nearly a year after a murder on the backside of Churchill Downs, police have still not made any arrests and questions still remain about whether anyone will come forward with information.
The body of 48-year old Adan Perez was found in barn number 8 in the early morning hours of May 6, 2012, the Sunday after Kentucky Derby 138. Perez didn't even work in that particular barn. It's not clear how he got there. At the time, Perez was working for trainer Cecil Borel, brother of famed jockey Calvin Borel.
It's still not clear who is responsible for Perez's murder, but the effects of his death are still lingering.
This coming Derby weekend, Churchill Downs officials plan to have more security on the backside working overnight on both Oaks and Derby. John Asher, one of the track's vice presidents, called the move a "minor shift" in security. (The plan includes removing off-duty sheriff's deputies from Off Track Betting and moving them to the backside).
The backside of Churchill Downs is home to more than 600 workers, many of them immigrants from central America. They come here to work the stables and groom the horses that compete at the historic racetrack.
Asher confirmed that this weekend's security increases are in part because of the unsolved murder.
"Certainly it's a thing that is on people's minds. It's on my mind when I walk back there. We want to see justice served and have a resolution to that case and some resolution for the family of Adan Perez," Asher told WDRB News.
No arrests have been made and homicide detectives still hope someone will come forward.
"One of the things that's been more difficult is the fact that a lot of these individuals are very transient. And the other thing is that there is a language barrier. We're trying to work all the channels again to find the person or persons responsible," said Dwight Mitchell, an LMPD spokesman.
Churchill Downs chaplain Ken Boehm doesn't believe the language barrier was an issue.
"We were here for a month and a half afterwards. I don't know if somebody saw something and they simply don't want to say," Boehm said.
Churchill Downs officials view Perez's murder as an isolated incident. But that hasn't stopped them from encouraging backside workers to remain vigilant if they see something suspicious and to not walk alone at night.
Perez's son Wilson still works as a groom on the backside. Workers we spoke to either didn't want to talk or didn't recognize the picture of Adan Perez. We could not reach Wilson Perez for comment.
"Wilson is back there working hard every day. I see him most mornings. He appears to be happy, but he will always carry a hole in his heart from what happened last year with his father," said Boehm.
Chaplain Boehm says he speaks to Wilson Perez on a regular basis and says the younger Perez remains optimistic the case will be solved.
"I find him to be hopeful. He's hopeful that someone will still come forward that information will be given that will lead to the arrest of his father's killer," Boehm said.
Anyone with information can remain anonymous and are urged to call the Louisville Metro Police tipline at 574-LMPD.