The 2019 Eastern View High School graduate who died in police custody last week had reportedly turned down a morning meal just a half hour before he was found deceased in a jail cell, according to Virginia State Police.
Late on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 11, Radford University Police responded to a call at a campus facility concerning Aris Eduardo Lobo Perez, 18, of Culpeper. Police took him into custody shortly before midnight on a charge of public intoxication, according to a news release Thursday morning from Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller.
As is standard procedure for law enforcement agencies, Lobo Perez was transported by the arresting agency to New River Valley Regional Jail, according to the release. The jail is located in Dublin, Pulaski County, about nine miles from the university where Perez had started his freshman year less than three weeks earlier.
At approximately 7:20 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, jail personnel approached Lobo Perez to offer him breakfast, which he declined, the release stated. It was at 7:50 a.m. that jail personnel found him unresponsive in his cell.
Despite immediate efforts by jail personnel to resuscitate the 18-year-old, he was declared deceased at the jail, according to State Police. The VSP Wytheville Field Office is in charge of the investigation, which remains ongoing.
The Roanoke Times reported Thursday police investigators suspect Lobo Perez was “participating in illegal recreational drug use” before his death on Sept. 12, according to a search warrant.
The search warrant for his phone, a black iPhone with a cracked screen that ended up in the possession of the jail, said that the student is suspected to have been involved in drug use, but offered no other information, according to The Roanoke Times.
The search warrant said investigators hope that information on the phone will tell them more about “whom or what” Lobo Perez had come into contact with before his arrest.
The search warrant also stated investigators examined the holding cell where Lobo Perez was found and could not determine his cause of death. The autopsy carried out by the state medical examiner’s office in Roanoke also did not immediately find a cause of death, the search warrant stated, according to The Roanoke Times.
Lobo Perez’s remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination and autopsy. State police investigators are awaiting additional information and analysis from the medical examiner as it continues its investigation, Thursday’s news release stated.
Tracie Cooper, Western District Administrator in the Medical Examiner’s Office, said it takes an average of four to 12 weeks before cases are finalized when further testing is involved, according to email Thursday.
Lobo Perez’s older sister, Jennifer Turcios Ariela Lobo Perez, notified of the new state police information on Thursday, said the family still has not been contacted with any information about their loved one’s death.
“We should be the first to know,” she said.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. this Friday at Culpeper Baptist Church, 318 S. West St. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Culpeper Baptist with the Rev. Habacuc Diaz officiating. Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery at a later date. Found and Sons is handling funeral arrangements.