WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department is continuing to investigate a homicide that happened in the 2200 block of North Parkridge Court.
Wichita police say they got a call from the Andover Police Department saying they had some property belonging to the victim. Police went to her house but couldn’t get a hold of her.
Police say several hours later they received a call from the Olathe Police Department saying they also had some of the victim’s property, including her car.
That’s when Wichita officers went back to the woman’s home and forced their way inside, finding 42-year-old Perla Rodriguez dead.
Rodriguez was very active in the Wichita community. She helped those who were victims of domestic violence.
She was also a mother. Her daughter, 22-year-old Alexcia Rodriguez, is a senior at Kansas State University.
She says she last spoke with her mom last Thursday.
“It was a quick conservation, like hey how was your day, how are you doing,” said Rodriguez.
Now, Rodriguez says she is doing her best to deal with the news that her mother is the latest victim of a homicide here in Wichita.
“It was just awful, is the word I can think of and the world kind of shook momentarily,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez describes her mother as, not just a parent, but also her best friend.
“The people she loved, they knew how much they were loved by her, because she always had such a caring, generous, charisma,” said Rodriguez.
Perla was the Director of Outreach Services for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.
Rodriguez says her mom had been working there for six years, taking pride in being there for anyone who was in need.
“My mom always would like tell me how her programs would go and she’s been all over, she’s been to schools, she’s been to shelters, she’s been jails,” said Rodriguez. “She always had this mentality of wanting to help others and bringing out the best of them.”
While Rodriguez says her mom was always willing to lend a helping hand to others, she touched on what she will miss the most now that her mother is no longer here.
“She was my number one supporter through everything and um, she just really always encouraged me to go after what I wanted,” said Rodriguez.
Wichita police say 37-year-old Travis Becker was arrested on first-degree murder charges. He remains in the Sedgwick County Jail. Police plan to present the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office.
Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center’s statement on Perla
WASAC staff and board are saddened by the loss of our coworker and friend, Perla Rodriguez. Perla was a critical member of our team providing guidance for the education and outreach we do in our community. We miss her terribly. Our love and support goes out to those who knew her and especially to her family. We are grateful to our community who have reached out to our staff during this difficult time with thoughts of care and compassion. Your support means so much to us and further demonstrates how much Perla meant to WASAC and our community.”