LITTLE VILLAGE — Rosa Perez endured years of abuse at the hands of her boyfriend before he fatally stabbed her and stuffed her in a closet, prosecutors and family members of the victim said.
Aaron Mejia, 19, was charged with murder after he admitted killing Perez, Cook County prosecutors said Monday at a court hearing.
Perez's family was certain of her killer's identity Thursday afternoon, hours after the 27-year-old mother was found stabbed multiple times in her home.
"It was her boyfriend — his name is Aaron Mejia," Perez's mother said outside the couple's home last week, before charges were announced. According to Perez's family, the woman was consistently beaten by Mejia, who was on parole at the time of Perez's death.
Police confirmed the family's suspicions Sunday when charges of first-degree murder were announced against Mejia, 19, in the fatal stabbing. Police arrested Mejia Saturday.
Rosa Guerrero, the girlfriend's aunt, said Perez and Mejia were overheard arguing the night of the murder.
"She was screaming out," Guerrero said.
After killing his girlfriend, Mejia went to a friend's house and asked to spend the night, prosecutors said.
"The next morning, the defendant told the witness that he had stabbed his girlfriend and she was in the closet," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dibler said.
The witness called Mejia's mother and went, along with other family members, to check the couple's house, Dibler said. They found Perez's body in the closet.
Mejia also admitted to a family member to killing Perez and told them where he ditched the knife, Dibler said. After his arrest, Mejia told police he did it, too.
Mejia and Perez had dated for three years and lived in their apartment on the 2200 block of South Sacramento Avenue for a year before Perez was found murdered at about 10 a.m. Thursday.
"I never liked him; he was always too aggressive," said Denise Townsend, 22, Perez's sister. "He always beat my sister. She always had bruises on her."
According to Perez's family, the woman was found stabbed 27 times, strangled and hidden in a small room where Mejia had planned to "put her into a laundry bag."