A Virginia man who hid his girlfriend’s dead body in the woods and killed her two cats last year was sentenced this week.
Dayshaun Keith Kent, 23, received the maximum sentence of 15 years with five years suspended after pleading guilty to improper disposal of a body and two counts of felony animal cruelty with death. According to The Roanoke Times, Kent let Edme Merle-Perez’s body lay dead for two days in their Roanoke home before taking her to some nearby woods, digging a shallow ditch, and dumping her in it.
While the 38-year-old mother of five wasn’t reported missing until March 27, WDBJ reported that Kent is believed to have discarded her body on March 1. It wasn’t until July that police found Merle-Perez’s badly decomposed remains in the woods off of Radford Road in Roanoke.
Following his arrest in August, Kent claimed that Merle-Perez had overdosed on Benadryl after an argument. Even after pleading guilty, it took authorities weeks to confirm that the body belonged to Merle-Perez, according to The Roanoke Times.
WSLS reported that how Merle-Perez died remains a mystery as an autopsy of her skeletal remains didn’t reveal a cause of death.
According to the news station, Kent admitted in court to placing Merle-Perez’s body in a trash can and rolling her down to the creek. While Perez was unaccounted for, Kent continued to live in the home and use her credit cards.
Kent became annoyed with his deceased girlfriend’s two cats and placed them in a backpack and threw it into Tinker Creek. Fishermen discovered the cats’ bodies on April 11 and police used vet records allowed to trace the cats back to Merle-Perez, the newspaper wrote.
Kent went on to reveal in court that he was abusing marijuana and cocaine at the time of the incident. Despite this, Judge David Carson found his “gross disrespect for life, both human and animal” unsettling and gave Kent the maximum sentence on the body disposal charge.
“If there was more time available under the statute, I would sentence you to that,” the judge told Kent. “She was a mother, she was a sister, she was a daughter. And for a year, they didn’t know where she was.”
[Featured Image: Dayshaun Kent/WDBJ; Edme Merle-Perez/Roanoke Police Department]