Escondido, Calif. (ABC) -- Police officers in California are grieving one of their own as her husband sits in jail, accused of shooting his wife and trying to cover up her murder by lighting his house on fire.
Freddy Perez-Rodas called 911 on Wednesday and said his wife, Laura Perez, was inside their burning home in Escondido, California, according to police. Investigators suspected arson after firefighters put out the blaze and were unable to find her inside.
“We started to look for her and it became something of an arson, missing person investigation,” said Murrieta Police Lieutenant Tony Conrad.
Within hours, police took Perez-Rodas into custody and charged him with murdering his wife. Although police said that Perez-Rodas confessed, he pleaded not guilty.
“He essentially admitted to shooting his wife three times in the chest and removing her body from the home and taking it to a storage locker,” said Conrad.
Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter called Perez a "fantastic officer." She graduated from the police academy in December.
"[She was] quickly moving into a leader on her shift and with her teams,” said Carter.
The couple’s 4-year-old daughter is being watched by family members as Perez-Rodas awaits his trial.