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Serial child molester caught in home by armed father

Originally ran here as:
"Intruder cuffed by resident may be molester, police say"
by Jennifer Emily, Staff Writer
The Dallas Morning News
January 16, 2002

DALLAS, TEXAS -- A father who handcuffed a man who broke into a home in Far East Dallas may have helped police catch a serial molester, police said Tuesday.

Police charged Fernendez A. Perez, 20, after police he was caught Saturday, allegedly in the bedroom of a sleeping 15-year-old girl.

Two charges - indecency with a child by contact, and burglary - stem from an October incident in which a man broke into a family's home and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl. In that incident, police found photos of children from the family outside a window, leading them to think the suspect might have taken them as "trophies."

Mr. Perez faces another burglary charge in Saturday's incident.

Deputy Chief Alfredo Saldana, who oversees the Youth & Family Support Division, said the man might be connected to similar crimes in the area.

Sgt. Byron Fassett, a supervisor in the child exploitation unit, said investigators would determine whether he will be charged with other crimes.

Both homes are within walking distance of Mr. Perez's house.

The father of the 12-year-old said Tuesday he hopes the arrest will help his daughter feel safe in their home. She has seen a counselor, he said.

"It was a relief for her. She was very insecure," said the father, who is not being named to protect his daughter's identity. "I've noticed she doesn't like to be alone. She likes to be where I am."

Police hope the 12-year-old girl can identify the suspect. Although it was dark, a television provided enough light to see his face, according to a police report.

Mr. Perez, who is being held in lieu of $225,000 bail at Lew Sterrett Justice Center, could not be reached for comment. Jail records show that an attorney has not been appointed for him.

Neighbors said Tuesday that they did not know Mr. Perez or the woman and several men who share a house with him. One woman said the men worked in construction and often had equipment at the home in the 2600 block of Province Lane. No one answered the door Tuesday.

In Saturday's incident, the girl's father, William Hazlewood, grabbed a handgun as the man slipped into his 15-year-old daughter's room, Chief Saldana said. He opened the door, trapping the man behind the door.

The intruder's pants were around his knees, according to a police report. The girl was not harmed and Mr. Perez signed a confession admitting the offense, the report said.

Mr. Hazlewood handcuffed the man and held him at gunpoint in the living room until police arrived at the home in the 9000 block of San Lea Drive, police said.

"I woke up at 3 in the morning to him standing in our living room. The way our room is, I can see out there," said Patti Hazlewood, the girl's mother. "My eyes met with his for a second, and I just laid back down in our bed. I thought he would leave. He didn't, and I started screaming for my husband."

In the Oct. 7 incident, the man sexually assaulted the 12-year-old as she slept, according to a police report.

The man climbed out a broken window, which he had used to enter the room.

When police arrived, they found several children's photos outside the home, which is in the 2300 block of Larry Drive, police said. The man might have been taking the photos as trophies, Chief Saldana said.

The 12-year-old's father said police told his family Mr. Perez admitted he was in the home that night.

Police also plan to search Mr. Perez's home for more children's pictures and review other burglaries in the area.

Mrs. Hazlewood said no pictures were missing from her home.

Sgt. Fassett said it's not uncommon for criminals to watch a house to determine which room belongs to a child.

"Other perpetrators have told us they look for where a child stays," Sgt. Fassett said. "They look for nightlights and toys."

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