GARFIELD HTS, OH - A young Garfield Heights woman preparing to celebrate her 21st birthday mysteriously disappears. This weekend, the body of Natalie Perez was discovered inside a vacant house on Cleveland’s east side, and her family wants answers.
"I knew she was gonna come back. I just knew for sure she was gonna come back, up until this moment. I'm in shock; I don't believe that this happened to my daughter," said the victim’s mother, Ericka Perez.
Perez last saw her daughter on April 6, as she was about to celebrate her 21st birthday. She said Natalie got upset because her family wouldn't give her money to go hang out. She walked out of her home in Garfield Heights; her family never heard from her again.
"We waited Thursday, Friday, she didn't come back Friday morning. We called the cops immediately," said her mother.
Natalie's family was even more worried because they say she was bipolar schizophrenic and had not been taking her medication. Days turned into weeks and the family's optimism began fading.
"Once like a week passed and then two weeks, I'm like...I don't know; I just had like this gut feeling and my best friend said she had a dream and then my mom was telling me that things just don't feel right no more," said Natalie’s sister, Giselle Perez.
This past Saturday, several teenage boys discovered a woman's body inside a vacant home more than four miles away on East 143rd Street in Cleveland. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner positively identified the body as Natalie Perez.
"Somebody had to see something and brought her there. Who knows if they gave her some type of drug or something, and why would you leave her somewhere where nobody could find her?" said her mother.
"How could you just be so cruel to somebody so beautiful and so full of life?" asked her sister.
Natalie was the oldest of four girls. Her family describes her as shy, but fun, looking forward to the future.
"I know that God's will had to be done, so it was her time and it's okay," said Giselle.
Natalie is the second suburban woman to go missing and be found dead on Cleveland’s east side in recent weeks. Cleveland police say there is no evidence at this time to connect the two crimes.
Natalie Perez’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday. Her family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses. Click here for the account.