Man appears before judge for murder of his nephew, Wallingford teen found dead in lake

Crime

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The suspect in the murder of a Wallingford teen was arraigned in a New Haven courtroom Wednesday. David Diaz-Perez, 21, is the victim’s uncle. It’s an ugly, Shakespearean family tragedy playing out during the pandemic.

Diaz-Perez faced a judge by video link Wednesday, with a Spanish interpreter. He showed little emotion behind his face mask as he was arraigned in the grisly bludgeoning and strangulation of his own nephew. The two were only a few years apart in age. 

RELATED: Police identify, arrest suspect of Wallingford teen homicide

Last Sunday two kayakers found the partially submerged body of 17-year-old Nolvin Diaz in Community Lake off the Quinnipiac River behind a Wallingford senior center. 

Nolvin has been missing since April. Cops say the teen was beaten and strangled to death using his own belt. The young man presumably escaped hardship in Guatemala and settled in to live with his uncle and other family members, but his respite didn’t last long.

Detectives say Diaz-Perez confessed to killing his nephew, allegedly telling them he went back a week later to drag the body into the water.

New details released in the arrest warrant reveal Diaz-Perez claims the victim struck him first with a wood board before Diaz-Perez retaliated. The suspect told detectives he tried to weigh the victim’s body down by filling a plastic bag with dirt before tossing it into the lake. Police say he even showed them where the struggle went down.

But detectives remain at a loss for any clear motive for the familial killing. Speaking just after the arrest, Wallingford police addressed surviving family including the teen’s aunt and family friend, both of whom lived with the two young men.

“Although we are pleased to make an arrest on this case we certainly feel sorry for the family for not just the loss of a loved one but the arrest of another family member,” said Lt. Cheryl Bradley.

Diaz-Perez is charged with murder and being held on $2 million bond. He’ll next be in court on June 23, 2020.

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