British TV show focuses on locally solved “cold case”

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) –An international documentary crew is telling the story of a solved missing person and murder cold case here on the Gulf Coast.

The 1976 murder of Mary Ann Perez will be featured on the show “Evidence of Evil” on the CBS Reality network available on Sky in the United Kingdom and several European countries.

“The show revolves almost exclusively around crimes that have been solved through modern forensic techniques,” said the show’s producer David Harvey.

Harvey was recently in Mobile interviewing Detective J.T. Thornton of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office whose work put to bed the 41-year-old Perez case.

“I think the real hook on this particular case was the fact that it had gone so quiet for so long,” Harvey said.

More than four decades to be exact. Mary Ann Perez was killed near New Orleans in March 1976.
Husband and wife serial killers caught in Kansas admitted to the killing several years later but couldn’t remember where they disposed of the body. So, Perez’ family wasn’t fully convinced.

Finally last year, Thornton re-examined the discovery of skeletal remains found off Old Pascagoula Road in November 1976. He connected the body to Mary Ann Perez, located the skeletal remains in Oklahoma where they’d been stored and forgotten about for 40 years, got DNA samples from the Perez family and ordered DNA testing thru the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System in Texas.

“I think that’s the great thing about the case, it shows with modern techniques, no case need go unsolved, particularly if there are samples, bones, traces left behind, and that’s a really exciting development  in modern crime fighting,” Harvey said

The episode is expected to air in the United Kingdom later this year and then will be sold to a U.S. cable network which will air it in 2020. News 5 anchor and reporter Peter Albrecht was also interviewed for the show.

Last year, News 5 profiled the case and Thornton’s detective work.  See our original report here:

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