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      Teacher's husband, gunman jailed in 'murder for hire' plot

      Crime Scene off FM 1846

      The husband of a murdered Rio Hondo ISD teacher and the alleged gunman are behind bars after being accused in a 'murder for hire' plot.

      Cameron County Sheriff's Department deputies arrested Julio Cesar Perez and Gabriel Apolinar Escalante for the death for teacher Sonia Perez.

      Both men remain in custody after appearing before a Cameron County magistrate judge on Sunday morning.

      Sheriff Omar Lucio said Julio Cesar Perez is accused of hiring Escalante to kill his wife Sonia.

      The motive is not yet clear but Sheriff Lucio said the case remains under investigation.


      Deputies found Sonia Perez's body in a her Ford Astro Van off FM 1846 between San Benito and Rio Hondo late Thursday night.

      The lights of the van had been left on while the third grade teacher's body was found with gun shot wounds to her head and ribs.

      Her death placed students, parents and staff of Rio Hondo Intermediate School in shock.

      Sonia Perez also worked for years as a teacher for the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District where many expressed condolences.

      Couple's Life

      Family members at a local funeral home did not want to speak on camera but they said they are mounring Sonia Perez's death.

      She and her husband Julio Cesar Perez lived in the La Paloma/El Ranchito area of Cameron County.

      Both she and her husband were heads of the Ministerios Manantial de Vida church in El Ranchito.

      It's not known if church services were cancelled today.

      Action 4 News will have more information during our 5:30 and 10 p.m. Sunday newscasts.