Accused hitman faces judge in Rio Hondo ISD teacher case

Julio Cesar Perez

Daniel Flores Lopez had no answer for Action 4 News when we asked if he shot 39-year-old Sonia Perez for a life insurance policy.

Lopez left the Cameron County Magistrate Court with handcuffs around his wrists and ankles after he was charged with capital murder in the death of Perez.

Cameron County Chief Deputy Gus Reyna said investigators believe money was the motive.

"The most probable reason why this school teacher was killed was because she had a life insurance policy through the (Rio Hondo) school district," Reyna said.

The amount of that policy is still unknown, but Reyna said they are awaiting a subpoena on that information.

Chief Reyna said all three suspects in the case, Pastor Julio Cesar Perez, Gabriel Apolinar Escalante and Daniel Flores Lopez have revealed chilling details about the planned shooting.

"(Daniel Lopez) was given a separate set of keys so that he could get into the vehicle before (Sonia Perez) got into the vehicle coming from school, Reyna said.

After Lopez allegedly shot Perez twice, once in the ribs and once in the head, he hopped into a getaway car.

Investigators said 39-year-old Albert Castaeda is believed to be the getaway driver.

He has not been charged in the case, but was arrested Monday in Brownsville on an outstanding warrant from Kleberg county.

"The investigators did a very, very good thorough job, Reyna said. We were able to pick-up a lot of people for witnesses and identify suspects, and that's why we have these individuals incarcerated at this time."

While scratch marks and signs of a struggle were evident on Lopez TMs face and ear, Reyna said they are awaiting DNA taken from under Perez TMs fingernails to determine if she left the scratches on her alleged killer.