California Cops Subjected Man to 'Torture,' Forced Him into False Confession of Father's Murder That Didn't Even Happen

Thomas Perez Jr.
A still from the surveillance footage of Thomas Perez Jr.'s interrogation on Aug. 7, 2018. Twitter

A California man reported his father missing and spent the next 17 hours being interrogated by police until he confessed to murder.

Now the man, Thomas Perez Jr., has received nearly $900,000 from the city of Fontana, California, after his father was found alive and well, The Orange County Register reported.

Thomas Reported His Father Missing After He Failed to Return From Morning Walk

Thomas' ordeal began on August 7, 2018, when his father, Perez Sr., took the family dog for a walk to the mailbox and didn't return, even though the dog returned within minutes. Thomas waited a few hours for his father to return, and then called the police to report him missing.

Instead of searching for Perez Sr., investigators spent the next 17 hours grilling Thomas into confessing that he killed his father, with investigators claiming his father had been found dead and was in the morgue.

Cops Told Him They Had Evidence That He Killed His Father, Said His Mind was Playing Tricks on Him

The investigators, according to court records obtained by the Register, told Thomas they had evidence that he had killed his father and told him to just admit it. For hours, Thomas said he didn't kill his father, but detectives allegedly explained that the human mind could block out traumatic memories.

Detectives even told Thomas that they would kill his dog, Margosha, as a stray, even bringing her in so Thomas could say goodbye. Margosha was not euthanized. "OK? Your dog's now gone, forget about it," an investigator said, according to the Register.

Photos from the interrogation show Thomas lying on the floor in the fetal position with his dog in his arms. "How can you sit there, how can you sit there and say you don't know what happened, and your dog is sitting there looking at you, knowing that you killed your dad?" a detective said to Thomas. "Look at your dog. She knows, because she was walking through all the blood."

After holding his dog, Perez confessed to murdering his father, claiming he stabbed Perez Sr. with a pair of scissors after the older man hit Thomas on the head with a beer bottle.

Thomas Tried to Hang Himself, Was Being Sent to a Mental Hospital When Perez Sr. Turned Up Alive

The police also refused to provide Thomas with medications he took for high blood pressure, asthma, depression, and anxiety. After confessing, a distraught Thomas tried to hang himself with the drawstring from his shorts when police left him alone in the interrogation room, the Register reported. He was then put in handcuffs and sent to a mental hospital for 72-hour observation.

Before they sent Thomas to the mental hospital, however, Perez Sr. turned up alive and well. He had simply gone to the Los Angeles International Airport to wait for a flight to Northern California so he could see his daughter. Police didn't immediately tell Thomas about this.

Blood Found at Home was from Perez Sr. Pricking His Finger for Diabetes Tests

Investigators grilled Thomas based on certain evidence they found at the house. A police dog allegedly detected the scent of a corpse in Perez Sr.'s bedroom. However, sniffing dogs are hardly a reliable source.

Police also found blood in the home as well, but Thomas' attorney argued those came from Perez Sr. pricking his finger for diabetes tests. Thomas sued the city of Fontana and recently settled his lawsuit for nearly $900,000.