Suspect named in murder of Hanahan woman

Published: Apr. 13, 2009 at 8:49 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2009 at 8:29 PM EDT
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By Harve Jacobs  bio | email

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Deputies say 28-year-old Jose Perea got a head start on them after Friday night's murder and made it all the way to Texas before being captured. Perea is accused of strangling 40-year-old Helen Hancock. Cops say the two had a relationship.

"All indications we have at this point is that it was a result of her prostitution and being with him," said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon.

Investigators say the murder happened at Perea's trailer at Parkside Mobile Home Park on Remount Road. We're told the suspect picked up his two roommates from work and then showed them Hancock's body.

Fearing their own lives, they fled, but didn't keep quiet. "They initially went to their pastor who notified authorities soon after that," said the sheriff.

And there's another part of this case that has deputies very disturbed. The sheriff's office has information that Perea may have actually slept with Hancock's corpse in his own bed Friday night before dumping her body at the intersection of Bulow Landing Road and Davidson Road in Rantowles. "That talks about the cruelty and the craziness of an individual who could do that," said Sheriff Cannon.

The victim's friends remember hancock as a loving daughter and mom. "Helen had a great sense of humor. She's a very down to earth person. She's a terrific mother and I do mean she's a terrific mom, terrific friend, great daughter," said longtime friend Lauree Kelly.

Deputies believed Perea might make a run for Mexico to avoid the murder charges. Monday night their beliefs proved to be well-founded as Texas police captured Perea.

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