(FOX 2) - A suspected murderer has been on the run for more than a decade, accused of killing a Farmington Hills man, disposing of his body and fleeing the country.
"He's the face of evil," said the victim's friend and neighbor, Sue Macri.
"Very conniving con artist," said Farmington Hills Police Sgt. Chad Double.
He isn't just manipulative.
"He had a dark soul," said Vic Macri,.
But he's also calculated.
"And no conscience," Sue said.
"We've come to realize Perez is a very bad man," Sgt. Double said.
Where is Edgardo Luis Perez?
"He still has family in the area," Sgt. Double said.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
Let's go back to October 2001. Years and years of hard work were about to pay off for 55-year-old Gordon Machek, who was celebrating his retirement from his job as a talented stylist and designer at Chrysler.
"He was a genius when it came to his craft," Vic said.
He lived in Farmington Hills on 13 Mile near Inkster Road. It was private and quiet, friends say, just like Gordon.
"He was very kind. He was very gentle. A real gentleman," Vic said.
Gordon and his boyfriend Jim Johnson, together for years, were designing their dream home just outside of Tampa, Florida. The couple was scheduled to break ground on their five-acre property.
Jim Johnson headed to the property October 19 and checked in with Gordon like they usually do. The next day, police say Gordon told Jim he planned on taking a bike ride with a young man named Eddie, who he had apparently met at a nearby health club.
But the next day, Jim was unable to get ahold of Gordon.
"Jim was trying to get a hold of (Gordon) to say hey, the developer's asking questions, where are you, I need to get a hold of you, they're ready to break ground," Sue said.
'SOMETHING'S HAPPENED HERE'
On the 22nd, Jim, who was still in Florida, got a call from one of their credit card companies. There were unusual charges on Gordon's card from Mexico.
The next day, Jim called good friends and neighbors Sue and Vic Macri, asking them to check the house. Vic was out of town, so Sue headed over alone, but on the phone with Jim. Nothing was out of place, except the garbage hadn't been taken out and a couple of newly washed green towels were in the dryer. Jim was uneasy.
"We never used those towels. Those are just show towels," Sue said.
Jim then panicked, learning Gordon's medicine that he needs daily for his failing vision was still in the fridge.
"If that medication is gone, he's probably gone, and if it's not and he doesn't have that medication, he will be blinded within a day," Sue said.
Sue then filled out a missing persons report with Farmington Hills police. Police called it "suspicious circumstances," and searched the home, but didn't find anything alarming. Jim arrived a few days later -- it was now over a week since Gordon had been missing. He went over to the home with Vic and Sue.
"We went into the basement," Vic said. "I noticed that the carpet was cut ... and right away Jim said this is not normal."
Gordon, the artist and the perfectionist, would never cut this carpet this way. And why?
"Then Jim starts panicking. Then says, 'Oh my God, something's happened here, something's happened her,'" Sue said.
CLUES ADD UP
Farmington Hills police searched Jim and Gordon's home more thoroughly, learning an old, black steamer trunk -- a family heirloom -- was missing. Cops noticed deep drag marks on the floor and a butcher knife missing from the kitchen block.
"We did find small amounts of blood on the wall and on a nearby plant. After testing using luminal and alternate lighting, it was determined that underneath where the carpet was, the cement contained large sites of blood. A lot of blood loss," Sgt. Double said.
But no Gordon. Police looked inside his new van, still parked in the driveway, finding the same deep drag marks inside. Sgt. Double said they believe the trunk may have been used to dispose of the body.
At this time, police only heard of a young man named Eddie and not much else. But a few days later, Jim discovered another piece of evidence linking Edgardo Perez to Gordon Machek: Gordon's planner. Inside was a neatly written name and phone number.
"It was unfolding pretty quickly and the next thing we needed to do was find where Perez currently was," Sgt. Double said.
Immediately, Vic recalled a strange encounter weeks prior when he heard the alarm go off at Gordon's house.
"I was in the backyard raking leaves and I heard the alarm go off," he said.
Vic headed over and called police, and while waiting for them to arrive:
"I see a man walking out of the bushes on Jim and Gordon's property," he said. "He said, 'Oh, I thought you were Gordon, who are you?' I said, 'Who are you?' He said, 'I'm a friend of Gordon's and I was in the neighborhood and I thought I would come by and say hi.'"
"What was strange was his dress, him wearing a long coat almost down to his ankles -- something that you'd see in an old Western where the guys were having gun fights," Vic said.
Vic said the man had an accent and looked just like Edgardo Perez, but a little heavier and his hair had been combed forward. He believes it was him.
COLD AND CALCULATED
Police were now on the hunt, learning Edgardo Perez had grown up not too far away. They searched Edgardo's bedroom inside his parent's home in Beverly Hills. Cops quickly learned Gordon Machek's murder may have been meticulously planned.
"We found many items and books about how to make fake IDs," Sgt. Double said.
Other reading materials included how to live in the wilderness and how to be a fugitive.
"He's very researched. He did his homework. He studied," Sgt. Double said.
Police then learned Edgardo Perez also has a history of assault, domestic violence and even impersonating a police officer to try to rob someone. Edgardo was a no-show for his probation hearing days before Machek went missing.
"He was all about the big score. The quick big score," Sgt. Double said.
Police learned Edgardo had been acting as Gordon, trying to remove money from Gordon's stock account. Edgardo also used Gordon's credit cards to get a haircut, take his girlfriend to the movies and for a few fancy meals.
"He did use the victim's ID to purchase a ticket to fly out of Detroit to San Diego," Sgt. Double said.
Cops pulled surveillance video of Perez walking through security at Detroit Metro Airport. Sgt. Double said Perez then crossed the border into Mexico, using Gordon's credit card to stay in a hotel in Tijuana. The FBI was on his trail but:
"By the time they got to the hotel where he was seen and where the card was used, he was gone," he said.
Nearly 18 years later, Edgardo Perez, Gordon's body and that trunk have never been found. Gordon's mother and Jim, both passed away a few years after he went missing.
"Gordon's mother died knowing her son was murdered," Vic said.
"That's all she had. Her only boy. It killed her and it killed Jim. He had a stroke," Sue said.
Police say Edgardo Perez has ties to Indiana, Mexico, Spain and Puerto Rico. Back in 2001, Edgardo was known to be rather vain, so likely he kept up with his appearance at age 37.
In total, what did he get out of killing Gordon Machek? A few thousand dollars.
Still out there somewhere, police say Edgardo Perez is likely, staying busy, scamming, stealing, selecting his next victim.
"God knows what else he did," Sue said.