Special Report: Family Still Searching for Answers 18 Years Afte - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Special Report: Family Still Searching for Answers 18 Years After Murder

 by Kim Powell

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - It was February 25th, 1996; a day the Paredes family will never forget. 

Petey Paredes had gone out with her husband the night before, leaving her youngest daughter, JJ, at a relatives house. But she was never picked up. 

Petey's father, Ildefonso, had a gut feeling that something was wrong. When he arrived at the couple's Odessa home later that afternoon, Dinah Olivas, Petey's younger sister, says the family dog ran straight to the bedroom. 

"So he went back there and the sheet was just covering her, and he pulled it back and he said that all he saw was that she had something right here by her heart," Olivas explained. "You know, but you could tell that she was dead, her eyes were still open. To him, she was saying, 'dad, where were you?'" 

Petey was just 32-years-old when her husband, Jose Rafael Marcelleno, stabbed her more than 50 times with a lockblade knife in an alley, leaving behind the murder weapon and her shoe. He brought her back home where he cleaned her up, changed her clothes, and put her in bed. JJ was just nine years old when she had to witness her mother's body being carted out, covered by a white sheet. 

"That's when I looked out the back window. They were bringing my mom out with the sheet over her, and I just heard my grandpa screaming, everybody, my sister screaming," JJ said. 

Marcelleno left in the couple's tan Lincoln Town Car. It has never been found. 

"Everything seemed to be okay, you know. I never saw her bruised or he never acted up in front of us. Other than that, he had no emotion," Olivas recalled. 

Some would say the relationship between Petey and Marcelleno was a bit off. Petey was an outgoing mother who loved dancing and being outdoors; the social butterfly of her family. Marcelleno, however, was the strong, silent type. 

In a family video from a party, you can see Petey pointing to Marcelleno, in love and bragging about her then-boyfriend. 

"We would be telling jokes, everybody, you know. Our jaws were hurting, your stomach was hurting where you're laughing so much and one day I noticed that he didn't laugh," Olivas said. 

"He was always quiet, he would just sit there. He wasn't the smiling type of guy," JJ said. 

Young JJ liked taking pictures with a disposable camera, and one day got a photo of Marcelleno, something he didn't like. He offered to develop the film for her--the day before the murder. He said he was going to the store to drop it off and get drinks, Petey was baking homemade peanut butter cookies. The couple got into an argument before he left. JJ was dropped off at her aunt's house, that was the last time she ever saw her mother. 

"She never came back for me the next day," JJ said. "We went over there and she was gone already. She had passed away." 

Just days after the murder, JJ discovered that the camera with photos of Marcelleno was never dropped off.

As the years went on, JJ and her grandfather made it their mission to find Petey's killer, posting flyers with Marcelleno's face around town and always, always looking. Sadly, Ildefonso passed away several years later. 

"He passed away still searching. We made many trips to different parts of Mexico, a couple of times we went to California," JJ explained. "I mean it was just the thought of looking that maybe we would run into him. Knowing how big these places were, it was just the fact that it was hope that we would find him, but we never did." 

Susan Rogers with Odessa Crime Stoppers is trying to put Marcelleno on the Texas Top Ten Most Wanted list, having gotten to know the family over the years. 

"I did get to know Ms. Paredes' father. He was a unique man. He wanted this kept out in the forefront. He wanted this man arrested," Rogers said. 

Ildefonso would s top by every year on the anniversary of Petey's death, just to check in on the investigation and make sure police bring justice to his daughter's killer. 

"He is not here to see us accomplish that, so it's been really important to me. You know, I feel like it's important to that family, it's important. It's very important to Mr. Paredes that he'd be brought to justice," Rogers said. "And it's just been one of those cases that I want to see come to a close." 

Eighteen years after he mother's death, JJ is sick and tired of having to look over her shoulder everywhere she goes. 

"It's hard when you can't go anywhere, you know. I go to Odessa and I'm like, everywhere I turn I'm afraid he's right there, you know," JJ explained. "If I get on the street, if I'm at a street light and I look at the car next to me, sometimes, you know, it looks like him. Or I go to the store and a guy turns the corner too fast and I'm like, 'was that him?'"

Petey's murder is something that family members can't seem to wrap their heads around, no matter how many years pass by. A wound that keeps opening up. 

"You know and it was hard, it was one of the hardest deaths I've ever had to deal with. You know, your sibling. Your sibling you grew up with them since I was born. You know, I knew her," Olivas said. 

"It's got to the point that it's gotten harder and harder in my life, you know, because I'm watching my back. Not because I'm afraid of what he's going to do to me, but because of what he's already done to my mom," JJ said. 

Many believe that Marcelleno fled to Juarez, Mexico where his family lived. However, there have also been several tips over the years that he comes back to Texas, and even to Odessa. 

"Knowing he's still out there on the streets, my mom, I feel like she ain't resting," JJ said. "You know, I feel like she's still there, like she's right here trying to show him to us and we're just not listening." 

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Jose Rafael Marcelleno, please call the Odessa Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 333-TIPS and you may get a cash reward. All tips will remain anonymous. 

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