The morning of March 10, 2000, began like any other for Kevin McElroy. He arrived at the plastics factory he owned in Troup, Texas, at about 8:30 a.m. Within the hour, his day, and his life, had been turned upside down.
At 9:20 a.m., Kevin received a phone call from a woman saying his son Kyle had been kidnapped. The caller demanded a ransom. Kevin thought it was a cruel joke, but it soon became clear it was no hoax and that Kyle McElroy was in grave danger.
Instead of another day at the office, Kevin McElroy was forced to embark on a desperate quest to save his son’s life.
Kyle McElroy worked as the night shift supervisor at the plastics factory owned by his father. He was last seen in the early morning hours of March 10, 2000, after his shift was completed.
The woman who called the factory later that morning identified herself as “Sara.” She told Kevin, “We have your son… Do not call the police. We are watching you.” In a terrified tone, his son said, “Dad, do what they say. They mean it, or they’re going to kill me.” Kevin recognized his son’s voice but believed it was a recording.
Despite “Sara’s” warning, Kevin contacted the police. For the remainder of the day, they were thrust into a movie-like scenario, directed to various locations, and finding a note at each one instructing them to another locale. Ultimately, $200,000 was demanded Kyle’s release.
At 8:00 p.m. Kevin, as instructed, returned to his office to wait for a phone call. The caller told Kevin to leave the money behind a local laundromat. Kevin was able to keep the caller on the line long enough for the FBI to trace the location. The call was traced to one of Kevin’s employees at his plastics factory. Kevin knew the man as Victor Feredes, but his real name was David Rios.
The FBI set up surveillance around the laundromat. On the following morning, March 11, two men attempted to pick up the money. As they did so, they were arrested. They were identified as Ernesto Balion and Alfredo Romero. Rios was also arrested. All three men were illegal immigrants.
Under questioning, the culprits told the police where they had been holding Kyle captive. At an abandoned farm in rural Cherokee County, the agents found the teen’s body. The Medical Examiner determined he had been choked to death.
The macabre scavenger hunt had been a wild goose chase. Kyle was likely murdered before the first ransom call was made, and, as Kevin suspected, it was a recording of his son’s voice played during the initial phone call.
All three men were convicted for their roles in Kyle’s kidnapping. Romero was sentenced to 30 years in prison, Baylon received 50 years, and Rios was put away for life.
The kidnappers identified “Sara” as Desiree Perkins, a prostitute known to frequent migrant camps. For four years, they were unable to locate her. In 2004, however, they received information saying she may have fled to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Mexican police agreed to help attempt to track her.
On October 7, 2004, Nuevo Laredo police on a routine patrol noticed a woman riding on a bicycle. She aroused their suspicion by attempting to lose their trail by weaving in and out of traffic. The police caught her and brought her in for questioning. The woman was identified as Perkins. She had been living in the area under the alias Alejandra Gutierrez.
Perkins was extradited to the United States. She pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 2044 when she is 75-years-old.
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Check out this week’s true crime best seller on AmazonGoodnight Sugar Babe: The Killing of Vera Jo Reigle
More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:
Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)
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