A supposed ‘psychic’ has a trial date set for his alleged drowning of a Kansas mother in 2003- a death he allegedly “foresaw” weeks before she died.
55-year-old Daniel U. Perez, a Kansas commune leader, is being charged with first-degree murder for the drowning death of Patricia Hughes, 26. Hughes was a member of Perez’s group, which was based in Wichita. Jury selection for the trial began on February 2nd.
According to prosecutors, Perez and his group of followers would use the money from insurance payouts of several members who passed away, including Hughes. The Wichita trial however will only be about Hughes.
Weeks after Perez predicted her death in 2003, Hughes drowned in a swimming pool. At first, it was believed by investigators that she died in an attempt to save her 2-year-old daughter from the water but that changed when a witness came forward with a different story. The case was then reclassified as a homicide.
The witness, a woman who was only 12 years old at the time, told investigators that Hughes and Perez worked together to stage her death and make it appear as an accident.
The witness- who will not be named due to the fact that she is allegedly a victim of sexual assault- testified that Hughes said goodbye to her daughter mere minutes before she was found unresponsive in the pool. She also stated that Hughes promised a different child that she would “return from the dead”.
Allegedly, Hughes then assisted Perez in unrolling the pool vacuum to make it look like she accidentally got caught up in it.
The witness states that Perez instructed her to take Hughes’ daughter to a building nearby and that when she came back to him his arms were wet. He then told her to bring the child to the pool in about 20 minutes and call the 911, telling them that Hughes fell in the pool while trying to save her daughter.
Perez is a self-proclaimed psychic and claims to have future-telling abilities. He led a commune comprised of mostly women that moved from state to state with him. They all lived a life of luxury thanks to the insurance payouts from the deaths of other commune members.
Perez was arrested on identity theft charges in 2010 and spent two years in a federal prison. His group of followers broke up after that incident.
Following the arrest and break up, several of the ex group members testified against him about sexual abuse. They told authorities that they were afraid of him because he was an overbearing and intimidating leader.
There have been other suspicious commune member deaths, such as a 2008 traffic accident and a 2001 plane crash but nobody was ever accused of any wrongdoing in them.