WALLINGFORD — Police say a town man was arrested Monday night on murder charges related to the killing of his teenage nephew, Nolvin Diaz, whose body was found in Community Lake last week.
David Diaz-Perez, 21, of 37 Meadow St., second floor, was charged with murder.
During an interview Monday, Diaz-Perez admitted to killing the 17-year-old Diaz after at first denying any involvement with the death, police said.
According to an arrest warrant released Tuesday, Diaz-Perez told police that he agreed to meet Diaz at Community Lake on April 23, upon Diaz’s request. When they arrived Diaz, he said, attacked him with a piece of wood. Diaz-Perez said he then picked up his own piece of wood and struck Diaz until he was motionless.
Diaz-Perez stated he then left the scene and returned home. When Diaz did not return home, Diaz-Perez went back to the area on May 2. Using an extension cord, plastic garbage bag, and dirt he weighted the body before dragging it into the water using Diaz’s own belt, the arrest warrant said.
Diaz’s body was found by kayakers around 1 p.m. on May 3, partially submerged.
According to the state medical examiner, Diaz suffered numerous injuries to the head and face. His death was ruled a homicide caused by blunt injury to the head, sharp force injury to the face and ligature strangulation.
He had been reported missing by his aunt Juana Perez-Diaz on April 25 and last seen on April 23, at approximately 8:30 p.m. by an unidentified housemate. Police said Diaz and Diaz-Perez both lived at 37 Meadow St. with Diaz’s aunt and another person. The address is within walking distance from Community Lake.
“Although we are pleased with making an arrest in this case, we certainly feel sorrow for the family, for not just the loss of Nolvin, but the arrest of another family member,” Bradley said.
During interviews with the family on May 11, police said past abnormal behaviors from Diaz were reported, including Diaz-Perez asking Diaz how he wanted to die.
Bradley said there was no motive indicated.
Neighbors of the Diaz family said they were not familiar with the residents of the home. Attempts to reach the family at the home and a relative’s workplace were unsuccessful.
During the interview, Diaz-Perez gave detectives permission to look through his two phones. On one, police found recently-deleted screenshots of Google Maps images of the lake and the area used to access it, including the former Choate boathouse. Diaz-Perez later led detectives to the areas seen in the screenshots, including where the crime took place.
The missing person investigation revealed that Diaz had few friends, didn’t socialize much outside of the family and that his phone had been turned off, according to police. They also said he worked at a local diner and had moved from Guatemala about a year earlier.
“I really truly want to give all the appreciation and consideration to our own detectives who have worked nonstop, tirelessly since the incident was reported to us,” Police Chief William Wright said. He also thanked the federal, state and local agencies that assisted.
A Spanish-speaking Meriden police detective helped with the case, as well as the State Police Central District Crime Unit and dive team.
Perez-Diaz is being held on a $2 million bond and is scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior today.
In a Facebook live video, Krissy Barton, owner of Dad’s Restaurant in Wallingford, said the restaurant is accepting donations for the family to help with funeral arrangements.
“They’re probably going to have to cremate him and they’re going to have to send his ashes back to his mother in Guatemala, which is horrific. But anyway, we’re trying to help out with the funeral expenses,” Barton said in the video.
Staff reporter Devin Leith-Yessian contributed to this story.