Real Name: Desiree Dawn Lingo-Perkins
Aliases: Esperanza Perkins, Perkins Lingo, and Esperanza Lingo
Wanted For: Abduction and Murder
Missing Since: March 2000
Details: Kevin McElroy had a flourishing manufacturing business in East Texas with over thirty employees, and his eighteen-year-old son, Kyle, worked there as an evening supervisor. On March 10, 2000, at 9:20am, a woman called the office and demanded to talk to Kevin. She, who called herself Sara, claimed that she had kidnapped Kyle. She told Kevin where to find Kyle's truck and that there would be more instructions inside it. She also threatened to kill Kyle if the police were contacted.
At first, Kevin thought that it was a joke. Then, Kyle's voice came on. He said, "Daddy, do what they say, or they are going to kill me!" Kevin felt it sounded like a recording of Kyle. Despite Sara's warning, he called the police, who followed him to Kyle's truck. An officer posing as a rancher pulled over several feet away from it. Inside it, Kevin found a note that said, "You have seven hours to come up with $200,000. Do not call the police, or we will kill your son. We will call you later at the plant."
After leaving the truck, Kevin arrived at a meeting point with investigators. At that point, the FBI became involved. All of the employees were sent home. At 4pm, Kevin and two FBI investigators arrived at his office. At 6:30pm, Sara called, asking for the money. He explained that he could only get half of it. He tried to stall her so the FBI could trace the call. He wanted to speak with Kyle, but she said that he was fine and hung up. A few minutes later, she called back and told him to go to a phone booth where he would find more instructions.
At 7:15pm, Kevin arrived at the phone booth and found a note at the bottom of a trash can next to it. The note ordered him to deliver the ransom money to a laundromat a half mile away. He then received another call at his office that told him where to find Kyle. He had the FBI listen to the calls, and they traced the next one to one of his employees, Victor Feredes, whose real name is David Rios. He was soon arrested, as well as two other conspirators, Ernesto Balion and Alfredo Romero, when they tried to retrieve the ransom money.
Balion broke down and told authorities where they would find Kyle, claiming that he was still alive. Tragically, when he was located by the FBI, he was dead. He had been choked to death and bound with duct tape. The FBI believes that he was forced to record his pleas for help on tape and was killed before the phone calls were even made. Rios, Balion, and Romero were all charged and convicted of kidnapping and murder. The FBI soon identified "Sara" as Desiree Dawn Lingo-Perkins, a prostitute known to frequent local migrant worker camps. She is now wanted for capital murder.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 6, 2001 episode. It was also profiled on America's Most Wanted and later covered on Cuff Me If You Can.
Results: Captured. In October 2004, Perkins was seen by police officers in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. They noticed her trying to flee from them by weaving in and out of traffic on a bicycle. They caught up with her, identified her, and extradited her back to the United States. She admitted to her involvement in the crime, pleaded guilty, and is now serving a life sentence for Kyle's murder. Alfredo Romero was sentenced to thirty years; Ernesto Balion was sentenced to fifty years; and Daniel Rios was sentenced to life.
- Desiree Perkins on Unsolved Archive
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- Trio charged with murdering son of Texas injection molder
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- Woman wanted in Texas kidnap-killing detained, deported
- Conviction of Son's Killer Allows Parents to Begin New Chapter of Their Lives
- Lingo-Perkins’ capital murder conviction upheld
- Perkins vs. Texas (2006)
- Desiree Lingo-Perkins Inmate Information
- Kyle McElroy on Find a Grave