Body of groom found in barn at Churchill Downs, investigation continues


by Maggie Ruper/Karma Dickerson

Posted on May 6, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Updated Monday, May 7 at 1:04 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A homicide investigation is underway after a man's body was found inside Barn 8 in the backside area of Churchill Downs just before 5 a.m. on Sunday.

The Jefferson County Coroner said Adan Fabian Perez, 48, of Guatemala was found dead Sunday morning.  The Kentucky Racing Commission confirmed that Fabian Perez has been a licensed groom since 2008. 

According to the staff at Churchill Downs, Fabian Perez had been living in the dorms while he was working in the backside area. 

Homicide detectives said Fabian Perez's injuries indicate he was involved in some sort of altercation, the nature of which is unknown.

“Our homicide detectives got to the scene and they were able to determine that there was foul play involved. However, we still don’t have an exact cause of death. So, we'll await the coroner's report for those details,” said Alicia Smiley, LMPD Spokesperson.

Angel Montano owns Barn 8. He told WHAS11 that his worker discovered the body, but he did not know the victim.

“The barns themselves have various stalls for the horses. He was found in the barn and not in the stall with a horse or anything," said Smiley

Police said there was no evidence of struggle in the barn and Fabian Perez's cause of death was not immediately obvious.

According to ABC News, Fabian Perez was identified by his 19-year-old son, Wilson Deejesus Fabian Perez.

“Everyone was excited about the Derby. So, it was like a regular party scene, people drinking, having fun and having a good time,” said barn worker, Keegan Murray.

“At this point we don’t have anything pointing to the fact that this would have had any association with Churchill Downs or the Derby itself," said Smiley.

Some people are speculating about what may happen at Churchill Downs in the aftermath of the investigation.

“I think you're going to see even more security on the backside and more watchfulness on the part of the track. Because it's not only a human tragedy when something happens like this, but it's bad business for the track,” said Courier Journal columnist Eric Crawford.

Police do not have any suspects.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 574-LMPD.