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Cold cases: Rage leads to a horrific scene
Forensic tests may help solve 1991 slaying of Amigo
Detective B.J. Day of the Gainesville Police Department discusses a cold case from 1991 involving a Hispanic male found beaten, stabbed and strangled in this home on Banks Street and Queen City Parkway. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
About this series
This is the third in a weekly series on unsolved murders in Gainesville. Anyone with information for police is asked to call the Gainesville Police tips line at 770-533-5873 or the criminal investigations division at 770-534-5252.

The man friends called “Amigo” was found dead in his boarding room by housemates on Aug. 20, 1991, though police weren’t called until the next day.

When detectives arrived at the house at the corner of Queen City Parkway and Banks Street, they were met with a grisly sight.
Joel Angel Perez-Reyes, a 28-year-old migrant poultry worker from Texas, had been beaten, stabbed and strangled.

“It was a pretty horrific scene,” said Gainesville Police Investigator B.J. Day, who has been assigned to review the cold case file, including crime scene photos. “Blood was everywhere. There was a lot of rage in whoever did it.”

An autopsy revealed nine blunt force trauma wounds, four stab wounds to the chest, seven puncture wounds to the neck and evidence of strangulation, possibly by a television cord.

Perez-Reyes had only moved into the house two weeks before.

The last time his housemates saw him alive was the night of Aug. 19, when he entered the house with an unidentified African-American man, according to witness accounts.

The next day about 2 p.m., other occupants of the house heard a door closing, someone getting into a car and speeding away. The car was described as a brown sedan.

Later in the day, a resident investigating a foul odor found Perez-Reyes dead on his back on the floor of his boarding room. For whatever reason, the home’s occupants waited a day before calling police.

Day said besides the TV cord, detectives seized two other items, which he declined to specify.

“We’ve got enough evidence that we might be able to reopen the case,” Day said, adding that “they had some good leads back then.”

Suspects were identified and questioned, “but nothing panned out back then,” Day said.

Police are still locating and pulling evidence in the cold case for new tests, hopeful that advances in forensic science since the time of the killing may provide new leads.

Day believes there is a good chance whoever committed the murder remains in the area.

“I think so,” he said.

Anyone with information about the death of Joel Angel Perez-Reyes is asked to call the Gainesville Police Department at 770-534-5254.