A fake psychic has a trial date set for his alleged drowning of a Kansas mother in 2003. He allegedly “foresaw” the death weeks before it happened. The accused killer is a 55-year-old Kansas commune leader named Daniel U. Perez. Authorities are charging him with first-degree murder for the drowning death of Patricia Hughes, 26.
Hughes was a member of Perez’s group based in Wichita. Jury selection for the trial began on February 2nd. Prosecutors state Perez and his followers would use the money from insurance payouts of several members who died, 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. Initially, investigators believed she died trying to save her 2-year-old daughter from the water. However, that changed when a witness came forward with a different story. Investigators then reclassified the case as a homicide. The witness was a young female of only 12 years.
She told investigators Hughes and Perez worked together to stage her death and make it appear like an accident. Authorities will not name the witness because she is allegedly a victim of sexual assault. She testified that Hughes said goodbye to her daughter minutes before being found unresponsive in the pool. She also stated that Hughes promised a different child she would “return from the dead.”
Perez Tried To Make Hughes’ Death Seem Accidental
Allegedly, Hughes helped Perez unroll 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 returned to him, his arms were wet. He then told her to bring the child to the pool in about 20 minutes and call 911. He explained to her that the plan was to tell paramedics that Hughes had fallen in the pool while trying to save her daughter.
Perez passed himself off as a psychic, but he was just a fake with no psychic abilities. He was just a scammer who used people. He led a commune primarily of women who 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. He was arrested on identity theft charges in 2010 and spent two years in federal prison, and his group of followers broke up after that incident.
Following the arrest and breakup, several ex-group members testified against him about sexual abuse. They told authorities they feared 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 police never accused anybody of wrongdoing in those deaths.