Roommate arrested in death of man whose dismembered body was stuffed into bags

The case of a Laurel man whose dismembered body was found stuffed into black plastic bags may have started with an argument among roommates over money, authorities said.

Prince George’s County police announced an arrest Thursday in the slaying of Jacinto Perez, 28, and issued a warrant for a second man in the killing.

Police say three roommates — Perez, Santos Leonel Mejia-Yanes, 32, and Bayron Cruz-Vargar, 34 — shared an apartment on Finsbury Court in Laurel. They began fighting Sunday, and the altercation quickly turned violent, police said.

Mejia-Yanes was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder after he acknowledged his involvement in Perez’s death, authorities said. Investigators are looking for Cruz-Vargar, who faces charges including first-degree murder and first-degree assault, authorities said.

“This is a very unusual murder, and the suspects involved took some incredibly violent actions in an effort to dispose and hide evidence,” said Lt. William Alexander, a police spokesman. “We know that this is upsetting to the community, and while we know this was not a random murder, we hope this brings some closure to the family and the community.”


Santos Leonel Mejia-Yanes (Prince George's County Police)

Police were called to the Arden Pointe Apartments about 9:20 a.m. Sunday after someone reported finding body parts in a bag, authorities said. Police discovered four bags containing body parts in the area — some in dumpsters and some in a grassy common area — and identified Perez as the victim through fingerprints, authorities said.

“He suffered from trauma to the body before he was dismembered,” Alexander said.

Some of the bags were not tied, Alexander said, and it was unclear why some were dumped out in the open.

Investigators think Perez was dismembered in the apartment, where police recovered weapons, including a knife, that may have been used in the crime, Alexander said.

Detectives think Cruz-Vargar has left the area, and police are trying to determine where he might have gone, Alexander said.

Prince George’s police are asking anyone with information about the case to call the homicide unit at 301-772-4925. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Lynh Bui is a Prince George's County public safety reporter and former Montgomery County education reporter.
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