Warrant: Affair may have been motive for Wake County murder

Joanna Madonna (Wake County Sheriff's Office)
July 31, 2013 2:47:45 PM PDT
Search warrants made public Tuesday show Wake County deputies believe Joanna Madonna stabbed her 64-year-old husband Jose Manuel Perez multiple times with a sharp object and dumped his body near Falls Lake in June.

Madonna is being held without bond in the Wake County jail.

Perez's body was found June 16 in the area of Old Bayleaf Road and NC Hwy 98. After his body was identified, investigators went to his home on Schoolhouse Street and spoke with Madonna's daughter. According to warrants, she told them her mother had said Perez had travelled to Florida, but she did not know how because his Jeep was still in the garage.

The daughter also told detectives her mother and stepfather had been fighting and her mother believed Perez had been having an extramarital affair with a woman in Florida after finding emails between Perez and the woman. Madonna apparently confronted Perez with the emails and he denied an affair.

When detectives interviewed Madonna, she told them Perez had been drinking a lot and had become abusive. She claimed she had asked him to leave the home.

The warrants say the daughter told investigators Madonna left the home with Perez and returned alone - saying Perez had injured her arm with a knife. The daughter said her mother was hot and sweaty when she returned.

The warrants say Madonna made an initial statement through her attorney indicating some kind of event happened between them in the Jeep belonging to Perez, but the warrants don't give specifics.

The warrants also say detectives were looking for a gun that Madonna said was present during the altercation and had been left near Perez's body, but detectives had not found it.

Madonna worked for Wake County Schools as a substitute teacher from March 2009 to March 2013. She spent the entire 2011-2012 school year as a full-time Spanish teacher. She spent the last three months before leaving in March, as a special education teacher at Garner High School.

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