Tony Ray Peralta confesses to killing William Blodgett more than 14 years ago

A man from Roswell was detained and charged with first-degree murder after admitting to killing another local man more than 14 years ago on Monday, May 1.

The victim’s remains were later found by authorities when the man revealed to them where he had interred the deceased.

Tony Ray Peralta, 37, was apprehended by the Roswell Police Department and sent to the Chaves County Detention Center soon before one in the morning on Tuesday, May 2. Around 1:15 pm on Monday, about 12 hours prior, Peralta called 911 and informed the dispatcher that he had killed someone. Following an investigation into Peralta’s claim, the RPD Criminal Investigations Division identified the 69-year-old William Blodgett as the victim.

After his family had been unable to reach Blodgett since December 23, 2008, and after Blodgett’s girlfriend had not seen him since the morning of December 24, 2008, Blodgett’s son filed a missing person’s report on January 3, 2009. After learning from Blodgett’s girlfriend that Blodgett had allegedly gotten into a fight or argument with Peralta, who was residing as a tenant in part of Blodgett’s home, and that Blodgett had attempted to evict Peralta, RPD investigators at the time suspected that Blodgett may have been murdered and had named Peralta as a potential suspect. The investigation eventually came to a halt due to the fact that detectives had exhausted all possible leads.

Peralta called 911 on Monday of this week, informing the dispatcher he had killed someone, before returning the phone to its owner at the Allsup’s store on the corner of North Main Street and Country Club Road. Officers responded to the store after gathering more information to locate Peralta, who they discovered there. He was held for interrogation. Until he was formally arrested later that evening, he was kept in police custody.

The home where the two men had resided at the time of Blodgett’s disappearance and the location where Peralta claimed Blodgett’s body had been buried was the subject of a search warrant acquired by RPD investigators in the meantime. This residence is located in the 400 block of East Fifth Street. The buried human remains, including numerous bones and a set of dentures, were found after excavation work was started inside an adjacent room on the west side of the home. The floorboards of the room were taken up and the plywood removed.

Blodgett’s dental records were compared to the dentures, which, combined with other information gained throughout the investigation, led police to assume the remains were that of Blodgett. The dental records had been acquired in 2009 after he was reported missing.

When questioned by an RPD detective, Peralta was unable to provide a reason for the murder, which he claimed was committed with a screwdriver. Peralta admitted to the policeman that he now needed to confess.

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