Autopsy finds Wichita woman was beaten to death

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Perla Rodriguez (left) and Travis Becker Jr. (photo of Rodriguez courtesy of Facebook) Perla Rodriguez (left) and Travis Becker Jr. (photo of Rodriguez courtesy of Facebook)

A court document released Wednesday indicates that a woman who was killed in a Wichita home in November was likely beaten to death with a shovel.

Perla Rodriguez, 42, was found dead in her home in the 2200 block of North Parkridge early on November 14. Her boyfriend, 37-year-old Travis Becker Jr., was arrested in Olathe and has been charged with first-degree murder

Rodriguez was outreach director for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center. 

A probable cause affidavit states that around 9:30 p.m on the 13th, Andover police called law enforcement in Wichita after finding Rodriguez's purse in a parking lot. A Wichita officer attempted to make contact with Rodriguez at her home, but was unsuccessful.

Just over four hours later, Olathe police contacted police in Wichita and requested that officers contact Rodriguez to see if she knew where her car was located. When police attempted to call Rodriguez, an Olathe officer answered and said his department had been in contact with Becker. 

"They (officers) also observed what appeared to be fresh scratches to his face and a cut to his hand," the document states. "Olathe Police stated Travis was in possession of a 1998 Honda Accord, which is registered to Perla Rodriguez. Olathe Police also located a cell phone, wallet, credit cards, and identification belonging to Perla Rodriguez. The wallet had blood on it."

Wichita officers then force entry into the victim's home, finding her on the floor of her master bathroom. She had multiple traumatic injuries to her head and throat.

10 of 36 Wichita homicides this year remain unsolved

"Officers observed a wooden handle shovel inside the master bedroom in plain view. The blade of the shovel was covered with blood and what appeared to be Ms. Rodriquez's hair."

Becker was originally arrested for possession of marijuana after his sister, who lives in Olathe, called police after Becker "came to her home and was acting strange."

After being read his Miranda rights, an officer asked Becker when he last saw Rodriguez.

"Travis said that he last saw Perla on November 10, 2017, in Wichita, and that she had gone to Mexico to help her parents. He later changed the timing and said he last saw Perla on Monday November 13, 2017. He said they went to see his doctor at Prairie View together and the meeting did not go well. He believed the people in the next room were laughing at him."

While being processed on for marijuana possession, the document sates Becker told an officer that he "drove 3000 mph in the Honda to get to Olathe to go to his sister's house" because he had to tell his sister that he killed Perla and that he had the ashes of his sister's deceased son.

Becker said his sister had Rodriguez help to kill the boy, "as he was a congenital heart defect baby and he had so many surgeries." Becker also told the officer that his deceased nephew watched him kill Rodriguez by hitting her in the head.

The autopsy determined that Rodriguez had "multiple bruises to her arms and hands, a large laceration to her neck, and a large injury to her head and face that appear to be from multiple impacts with an instrument consistent with the blade of the shovel that was located near the body."

Becker remains jailed on $250,000 bond.

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