Man who caused nationwide amber alert charged with first-degree murder

Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 18:56:05-04

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- A Berrien County man accused of killing the mother of his children and her father, then abducting his two young daughters was officially charged Friday.

Alex Perez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Renee Mitchell, 27, and her father John Mitchell, 67, in January. Perez arrived back in Berrien County after he was arrested in Colorado in January.

The abduction of his daughters caused a nationwide amber alert. It started in January in Coloma where detectives said Renee and John Mitchell were likely killed in a home on M-63. Their deaths went unnoticed until family members crawled through a window and found their bodies.

At that time police realized two sisters, 4-years-old at the time, were missing prompting the amber alert. Hours later, police in Colorado arrested Perez during a traffic stop, and found his daughter, the two missing sisters, safe in his car.

During his arraignment Friday, the judge set his bond at $5 million after the prosecutor argued Perez is a flight risk. The prosecutor explained that on Jan. 1, 2016 Perez was staying with relatives in California, Jan. 10 he was back in Berrien County, then within 18 to 36 hours of the deaths Perez fled and was arrested in Colorado.

After the arraignment a friend of the victim yelled at the suspects family in the hallway saying in part, "She didn't deserve this." This friend told FOX 17 that "even though it's $5 million, he shouldn't have gotten the option [for bond]."

The older brother of Perez told FOX 17 his brother was "never violent."

“In my opinion, something might have happened to his children that caused him to come over here," said Pedro Perez.

"He was always worried about the well-being of his children. That was always—he kept telling me the same thing, ‘my kids, my kids, my kids.’”

Perez also said his brother, Alex Perez, called Child Protective Services "multiple times" because Alex was worried that his daughters may have been molested and were malnourished.

Perez is due back in court April 15 for a pre-exam conference.