POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County deputies are currently searching for a man they say “violently murdered” his adoptive mother in Polk City.
According to Sheriff Grady Judd, 74-year-old Perfecta Paz Paz was reported missing by her sister, who she lived with, on Wednesday. Paz Paz’s sister said she last saw the 74-year-old at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday before going to work.
When the sister returned home Tuesday afternoon, she saw 39-year-old Aroldo Paz, who also lived at the house located off of Deen Still Road, in the yard. Judd said Aroldo had lived with the two women for about seven months after he was injured during an incident at a construction site in Texas.
Deputies say Aroldo told Perfecta’s sister that his adoptive mother, who is also his aunt, had left the home.
When the sister returned from work the next day, she found that Perfecta was still missing and Aroldo left the home in a 1999 beige Toyota Camry with a Texas license plate PTC9735 with all of his belongings, according to Judd.
A release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Perfecta usually kept some cash in the home, however, it was also missing.
According to deputies, another relative told detectives that she spoke with Perfecta on Tuesday and at that time, the 74-year-old said that she wanted to move out because she and Aroldo “were not getting along and they were always fighting with each other.”
Sheriff Judd also noted during a press conference Friday that Perfecta and Aroldo had an argument over money about two months prior. The sheriff said Aroldo pulled out a gun and reportedly threatened Perfecta, but, things eventually calmed down and went back to normal.
When she couldn’t get a hold of Perfecta, her sister called the sheriff’s office to report her missing.
Law enforcement officials conducted a search of the home’s surrounding property on Thursday and a deputy stepped on an area Judd said was a “soft spot” and freshly disturbed soil. The sheriff said deputies dug up the area to not only find a slipper of Perfecta’s but also her body in a shallow grave.
“She died a violent death. A violent death,” he said.
According to Judd, Perfecta, her sister, and Aroldo are originally from Honduras. He noted that Perfecta adopted Aroldo when he was very young because his mother passed away. However, he stayed in Honduras with his father after she moved to the U.S. when he was just 6 or 7 before finally coming to the U.S. as an unauthorized immigrant in 2003.
Polk County detectives now have a warrant out for Aroldo’s arrest for first-degree murder, grand theft, and tampering with evidence.
“The suspect may be headed to Texas due to his previous history there. He should be considered armed and dangerous. Our homicide detectives, who are simply the best, will do everything possible to find him, bring him back, and ensure that justice is served for Perfecto Paz, and her family,” the sheriff said.
Judd believes Aroldo’s Toyota was recently seen in the greater Houston area.
If you have any information on Aroldo’s whereabouts and wish to remain anonymous, please contact Heartland Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-226-8477, dialing **TIPS from your cell phone, or submitting a tip online or through the P3tips mobile app.