Provo Police announce arrest in cold case murder of 60-year-old woman

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(KUTV) – Detectives have made an arrest in the 2014 cold case murder of a 60-year-old woman in her Provo home.

Jerad Gourdin, 34 , now faces a charge of aggravated murder for the strangulation death of Belen Perez in May 2014.

Gourdin has been in the Utah State Prison since August 2014 for a separate crime.

According to court documents, Gourdin confessed to the murder during a jail gang initiation where he provided details of the killing.

"Gourdin approached another inmate about possible initiation into a gang. Knowing initiation required a killing, Gourdin asked if a previous incident could satisfy that requirement. The information provided to law enforcement by this inmate would not have been publicly or otherwise available, outside of contact with Gourdin," a Provo Police Detective wrote in a probable cause statement.

Detectives considered Gourdin a suspect early on in the investigation.

Gourdin lived two doors down from Perez's home on 50 North in west Provo.

According to charging documents, Gourdin was released from prison on April 3, 2014 and shortly knocked on doors in the neighborhood asking to do odd jobs.

One of the neighbors told police that while Gourdin was at the door speaking with her, she felt like he was looking past her into her home.

Police believed Perez walked in on a burglary when she was killed.

According to police, Perez was strangled to death with an electrical cord and the suspect dumped bleach over her body.

According to court documents, Gourdin's girlfriend reported on the day of the murder that Gourdin took two showers, one lasting for 45 minutes. The girlfriend also told police Gourdin got in the shower fully clothed and washed his clothes in the shower.

Detectives knocked on Gourdin's door during the initial investigation, at which time, Gourdin's girlfriend reported he was acting strangely and kept standing on the bed to look out the window at what the police were doing.

The girlfriend also told detectives that Gourdin turned off the tv when the newscasters were talking about Perez's murder.

Provo Police interviewed Gourdin several times during the initial investigation, at which time he changed his story about having contact with Perez.

The day after Perez's death, Gourdin was arrested for stabbing another person with a screwdriver. Gourdin was convicted and sentenced for that crime. He was scheduled to be released in May 2019.

Gourdin is the brother of Jesse Gourdin, who is currently in prison for the 2017 shooting death of a man in Provo.

A court date for Gourdin has not been set. He remains at the Utah State Prison.

In 2014, Perez’s son, Carlos Barcelata told 2News that her mother was a ‘very kind lady.”

This is a developing story, 2News will post additional details as they become available.

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