ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A 14-year-old missing persons case is now closed after an out-of-the-blue murder confession. Tony Peralta called 9-1-1 on May 1 to tell Roswell Police he killed his landlord in 2008.
Dispatch: Sir, tell me exactly what happened.
Peralta: Well, I killed somebody.
Dispatch: You killed somebody?
Peralta borrowed a stranger’s phone to make the casual confession that Monday afternoon.
Dispatch: And who is the person that you killed, Tony?
Peralta: His name is Bill.
Bill’s full name is William Blodgett. Roswell Police took a missing persons report on him more than a decade ago.
Peralta called from an Allsup’s gas station parking lot around the corner from the police station that Monday afternoon. KRQE obtained body camera footage showing police arriving to speak with Peralta. He was calmly sitting on the curb when multiple patrol cars pull up.
“I’m just tired of covering up for it,” he told an officer. “I’m tired of living with my lie, sir.”
Peralta mentioned this happened years ago, so he cannot remember too many details. But, he agreed to take the officers to where he buried Blodgett. Without being told, Peralta stood up and put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed. As he walked to the arresting officer’s patrol car, Peralta thanked the officers he passed. “Thank you, guys, for coming,” he said. That was the first of many “thank yous” from Peralta throughout the investigation.
When speaking one-on-one with a detective, Peralta admitted to taking blood pressure pills and a drink to get up the nerve to come forward. The detective confirmed he was still okay with speaking to them. Peralta made it clear he wanted to confess. He told them the murder happened at Blodgett’s house. “I was on meth really bad,” he explained. “And I killed him ’cause he wouldn’t give me no money. And I buried him in his house.” When this happened, Peralta lived there with Blodgett, according to police. In his early twenties, he rented a room in Blodgett’s house.
Because he could not remember the address, Peralta drove with an officer and detective to East Fifth Street to help locate the crime scene. Once there, he explained he buried his landlord in what looks like a room added onto the home.
Now that police had the exact address, they matched it to an old missing persons report on Blodgett’s disappearance. It shows they were suspicious of Peralta then and even searched the house.
“Why didn’t they smell his body in there,” Peralta asked the officer.
“I don’t know,” he responded.
It’s a good question. Blodgett’s son reported him missing in January 2009, saying he had not been seen since Christmas Eve. Court records reveal police used a cadaver dog on the property days after he had disappeared. And, a detective interviewed Peralta because a witness told police Blodgett had accused Peralta of stealing his wallet and tried to evict him. But, the report states, neither the dog nor Peralta gave police any leads. They closed the case.
While Peralta does not remember many details, he does know exactly where he buried Blodgett. He instructed the officers to pull up the floorboard on the left side of the room and dig.
Sure enough, with a shovel and flashlights, the officers got to work and eventually realized Peralta was telling the truth. First, they located a boot. When they take a closer look and see it has bones in it, their dig stops. They need a search warrant.
At this point, Peralta was driven back to the police station to answer more questions. They gave him dinner and started trying to get more information out of him, but Peralta said he did not want to talk anymore. He began crying, letting go of 14 years of guilt.
“I know this is probably a big, hard decision you had to make,” the detective said to Peralta. “You’ve been thinking about it for a while?”
“Every day,” Peralta said.
The detective does not get much information from Peralta in this interview. Peralta repeatedly explained he could not remember anything; but, he did admit to using a screwdriver to kill the 69-year-old.
Peralta said he wanted to confess because of his own family. The detective told him he was helping Blodgett too.
“Tell them that he was a good man, and I shouldn’t have done what I did,” Peralta said. “He was always good to me, and I took his life for no reason, and I don’t have an excuse.”
Online court records show since 2009, Roswell Police arrested Peralta four different times for non-violent crimes. He is now charged with first-degree murder for killing William Blodgett. The dentures police dug up in Blodgett’s home were used to confirm his identity.