TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — An arrest warrant from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office outlines new information in the case surrounding a buried body found at a Leander home. TCSO conducted the investigation after receiving reports of a woman’s body found wrapped in a tarp and buried beneath a burn pit at the home.
Peter Perius, 52, is in custody on a driving without a license charge and a tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impact a human corpse charge. KXAN has reached out to his attorney. We will update this story if a response is received.
On Nov. 8, TCSO identified the woman as 36-year-old Natalie Renee Pearce of Austin.
According to the arrest affidavit, a relative of Perius called TCSO Dispatch and “stated she had information about a murder” in the 23000 block of Windy Valley Road in northwest Travis County.
Perius had picked up an unidentified woman near Rundberg Lane in Austin and brought her to his house to get high, per the affidavit. Another relative said Perius was a methamphetamine user and hurt women while high.
The affidavit said something happened between the two and Perius beat the woman until she died, before wrapping her in a tarp. According to the affidavit, Perius reached out to another family member to help him with the body.
According to the affidavit, Perius asked the family member for assistance with the body. The affidavit said Perius told the family member he had met a woman near Rundberg Lane and Lamar Boulevard and brought her home with him, but beat her until she died because she wouldn’t have sex with him.
The affidavit said Perius then allegedly told the family member where the body was near the burn pile and told him to look under the tarp. According to the affidavit, the family member said he didn’t look at the body and left Perius’ home afterward, “because what Peter had told him freaked him out.”
The family member told law enforcement that Perius said he originally met the woman in an H-E-B parking lot and the two later went to a pawnshop near Lamar Boulevard and Rutland Drive. While the family member was at Perius’ house, he alleged Perius told him the body had been under the burn pit for two days.
Management at the pawn shop reviewed footage and confirmed he had been seen at the store with a woman. Law enforcement also found two pawn shop transactions under his name, per the affidavit.
Law enforcement received a tip that Perius was driving a gold suburban and moving things between that vehicle and a black Ford truck. TCSO patrol deputies saw he had an expired registration and conducted a traffic stop before finding out Perius was driving with an expired license. He was then detained and taken with TCSO for an interview.
During the interview, Perius denied killing anyone. He said the last woman at his home wasn’t the victim and she had visited two weeks ago. Perius alleged the relative made these claims because she was supposed to send him money through a cash app but didn’t, per the affidavit.
Perius also denied he had picked up a woman at H-E-B, as well as any recent pawned items. He then said the woman stayed at the pawnshop and didn’t leave with him.
When told by law enforcement there was video surveillance footage, Perius said he had originally met the woman at the intersection of H-E-B and she had asked him if he wanted to “party,” which he said he thought meant having sex for drugs or money. He said she began acting “crazy and began crawling out the truck window.”
When asked about an alleged white tarp or tent at his property, Perius told detectives the white tent and car jack were still at his property. He also alleged text messages between himself and the family member were “blackmail” but didn’t explain why or how.
Text messages between the two showed Perius expressing he was scared and didn’t want to spend time in prison, as well as the family member telling Perius he could “cut some trees to help him burn.” When asked what they were trying to burn, Perius said the family member knew what that meant.
With a search warrant, the FBI Task Force and cadaver dogs searched the property and found a blue tarp buried about a foot below the burn pit with a body inside. The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy and identification, with final results pending.