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Man Was Forced Into Falsely Confessing To His Dad’s Murder – But He Wasn’t Even Dead

After being interrogated for 17 hours, a man would confess to murdering his father - who turned out to be very much alive. 
Credit: KCAL News via YouTube

A man was coerced into falsely confessing to his father’s murder – but he wasn’t even dead. 

The bizarre case took place in Fontana, California, in August 2018.

Thomas Perez Jr. became concerned when his father Thomas Perez Sr., also known as Papa Tom, did not return home after taking their dog, Margosha, for a late-night walk.

Instead, the dog returned alone, the leash hanging off the animal’s collar.

Perez considered that his father may have met with a ladyfriend yet his worries grew the following day when there was still no word from Papa Tom.

He took decisive action by reporting his father’s disappearance to the Fontana Police Department.

However, this plea for assistance would swiftly become a traumatic ordeal for Perez.

Thomas Perez Jr.
Thomas Perez Jr. falsely confessed to the supposed murder of his father. Credit: Fontana Police Department

During an alleged 17-hour interrogation session, Perez falsely confessed to murdering his father.

In a subsequent lawsuit settlement, he alleged this confession was a result of coercive tactics employed by the detectives.

The Los Angeles Times has obtained a video that shows an officer telling Perez: “You murdered your dad.

“Daddy’s dead because of you.”

Detectives allegedly told him that the human mind often suppresses such traumatizing memories.

They also claimed to have evidence proving Perez killed his father.

Thomas Perez Jr.
Thomas Perez Jr. was allegedly interrogated by detectives over the supposed murder for 17 hours. Credit: Fontana Police Department

At one point, they reportedly told Perez the dog would not psychologically recover from the trauma and would have to be euthanized.

Perez’s lawsuit also claims detectives refused to retrieve his medication for high blood pressure, asthma, depression, and stress for several hours.

Footage shows him becoming distraught – he tears at his hair and clothes and attempts suicide when left alone in the interrogation room.

Eventually, police would get a phone call from Perez’s sister – Papa Tom was alive and well.

But the nightmare wasn’t over.

Thomas Perez Jr.
Detectives falsely claimed to have evidence linking Thomas Perez Jr. to his father’s supposed murder. Credit: Fontana Police Department

Perez was detained under a psychiatric hold known as the ‘5150,’ which can last up to three days. Until he was released, he had no idea his father was alive.

Yet the investigation didn’t stop – detectives obtained a warrant to search his house for evidence he assaulted an ‘unknown victim,’ according to U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee’s summary.

It appears none was found.

The city of Fontana agreed to pay Perez nearly $900,000 to settle a federal lawsuit.

In a statement, officials say this ‘was recommended by a federal court mediator to save the City further time, effort, and expense.’

Any suggestion its officers had broken state or federal laws is also ‘vigorously’ denied.

The statement adds that officials had ‘good legal cause’ to suspect Perez – a cadaver dog reportedly indicated the presence of human remains and it’s claimed he discarded items belonging to Papa Tom.

Additionally, it is disputed that Perez was harshly interrogated, with it being claimed: “Mr. Perez was not isolated in an interview room for 17 hours.”

Perez is said to have been ‘fed multiple times and was taken to a local coffee shop where he was able to freely walk into the location without an escort to provide an interview break.’

Thomas Perez Jr.
The nightmare persisted for Thomas Perez Jr. after it emerged his father was alive. Credit: Fontana Police Department

Perez’s attorney said, per The Orange County: “Mentally torturing a false confession out of Tom Perez, concealing from him that his father was alive and well, and confining him in the psych ward because they made him suicidal, in my 40 years of suing the police I have never seen that level of deliberate cruelty by the police.”

Gee summarized: “A reasonable juror could conclude that the detectives inflicted unconstitutional psychological torture on Perez.

“Their tactics indisputably led to Perez’s subjective confusion and disorientation, to the point he falsely confessed to killing his father, and tried to take his own life.”

Watch the distressing footage here…

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S.A. at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.

In the U.K., the Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, emailing [email protected], or heading to the website to find your nearest branch.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.