An autopsy report has been unsealed in the bizarre 2012 killing of a north San Diego Marine wife in what investigators believe was a sex game turned deadly.
Brittany Killgore, 22, of Fallbrook, was last seen alive on April 13, 2012.
She was in the process of moving and, on that same day, had gotten help packing from acquaintance Sgt. Louis Perez, now 49. That night, she agreed to go on a dinner cruise in San Diego with Perez.
Shortly after being picked up by Perez, a friend received a text message from Killgore’s cellphone that read, “Help.” That message was followed by others that did not appear to have been written by her.
Killgore was reported missing on April 15, 2012, and a search ensued. Two days later, her body was found nude and mutilated in a remote, dirt field off Borel Road near Lake Skinner in Winchester, Calif.
Perez and suspects Jessica Lynn Lopez, and Dorothy Maraglino and Sgt. Louis Perez were arrested and charged with Killgore’s murder.
Investigators said the suspects were involved in a bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic lifestyle. They were also charged with torture, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit a crime and attempted sexual battery in Killgore’s slaying.
Killgore’s autopsy report, unsealed for the first time Wednesday, determines the Marine wife’s cause of death as “homicidal violence.”
A toxicology report says Killgore had no drugs in her system at the time of her homicide. Testing detected an alcohol level of 0.06 percent, though the autopsy says a low level of alcohol “can be produced by fermentation occurring in decomposition” and may have been due to postmortem changes in Killgore’s body.
The autopsy report says Killgore had a black tattoo on her left wrist that read “Eileen,” which was used by officials to confirm her identity.
The report says Killgore had strangulation marks on her neck, as well as wounds on her left wrist consistent with handcuff use.
Her face and neck had two small, brown marks suggestive of “use of an electrical weapon,” and her wrist and left knee had a large wound “suggestive of attempted dismemberment,” the autopsy states.
In warrants unsealed in August 2012, investigators also stated Killgore had sustained injuries indicating she was strangled, as well as wounds “consistent with someone using a tool such as a saw [sic] in an attempt at dismembering her.”
The warrants from 2012 said a search of the home on East Fallbrook Street shared by the three suspects led investigators to a room that was set up to be an apparent sex dungeon.
Items removed from the home included plastic and wooden whips and crops, leather restraints, a ball gag, a leather collar, zip ties, various ropes and cords, swords, a machete, black spiked gloves and a black knife labeled “The Black Defender.”
A stun baton was also found during the investigation, the warrants said in 2012.
Those documents said the three defendants had told investigators they were involved in sexual activities that included master, servant and slave role-playing.
Days after Killgore’s body was discovered, Lopez, Perez and Maraglino were arrested and charged
with her murder.
When Lopez was arrested, investigators found a suicide note that included graphic details describing how she had tried to dispose of Killgore’s body like “Dexter,” the serial killer character on the TV series by the same name, warrants said.
More than three years later, the suspects remain in custody in San Diego-area jails.
At a readiness conference in December 2014, a deputy district attorney announced the death penalty had been taken off the table in the case, and the suspects would face life in prison without parole if convicted.
Lopez, Maraglino and Perez are all scheduled to appear in court for further proceedings on Aug. 25 in Vista.
NBC 7 reached out to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Thursday to ask why Killgore’s autopsy report was released now, after all this time.
“Once a suspect is in custody, we typically try to unseal the autopsy,” said Lt. John Maryon. “We periodically review our cases to see if any autopsies that are sealed can be unsealed.”