A Wichita sexual assault center worker found dead last month in her west side home was likely killed with a shovel, according to a court document released Wednesday.
Wichita police officers who went to Perla Rodriguez’s home in the 2200 block of North Parkridge to check her welfare on Nov. 14 found her beaten body lying next to the tub in the master bathroom. A shovel with a wooden handle was laying in plain view in the master bedroom.
Her boyfriend, 37-year-old Travis Becker Jr., has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the slaying. He remains in the Sedgwick County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.
Rodriguez, 42, was the director of outreach services for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and worked with sexual assault victims. She also worked closely with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, which works with agencies across the state to help people in abusive relationships.
According to the court document:
Wichita police discovered Rodriguez’s body after Andover police called them, saying Rodriguez’s purse with some of her belongings had been found in a parking lot in Andover. Officers went to her home to contact her shortly after 10:30 that night but no one answered the door.
About three hours later, Olathe police called Wichita police saying Becker, her Honda Accord, identification, cellphone and wallet were in Olathe and that Becker had fresh scratches on his face and a cut on his hand. The wallet had blood on it.
Wichita police went back to Rodriguez’s home and forced their way inside when no one answered the door. She was pronounced dead there.
Police in Olathe arrested Becker on suspicion of marijuana possession early on Nov. 14 after he showed up at his sister’s house, acting strange. Becker first told an Olathe officer during an interview that he last saw Rodriguez on Nov. 10 and that she’d gone to Mexico to see her parents. He then changed his story, saying Rodriguez went with him to a doctor’s appointment at Prairie View mental health center on Nov. 13 and that “the meeting did not go well. He believed people in the next room were laughing at him.”
When the officer was completing Becker’s paperwork, Becker told him without being asked “that he drove 3000 mph in the Honda to get to Olathe to go to his sister’s house because he had to tell … (his sister) that he killed Perla.”