POLICE NOT ALERTED
The child assessment also shows Miami-Dade County police detectives - who were investigating Pérez's threats - were not notified.
"There was clearly an escalating pattern of violence with this guy, " said homicide Detective Joe Mallot, who arrested Pérez, "although I don't think anyone suspected he would kill the kids. He wanted his wife dead."
On Oct. 9, the caseworker went to the house at 6 p.m. and found no one at home. The worker returned to the house three days later at 7 p.m. No one was there. Heath said he cannot remember why it took him so long to return.
Meanwhile, internal DCF memos following the deaths questioned the investigator's moves.
"[Why didn't he go to the school?], " a DCF administrator later wrote. "I checked school records and Anthoney [sic] was present that day but Ana was absent."
Said Heath: "That was my next step, along with the courthouse."
González said that only after the murders did DCF caseworkers show up at the home where she occasionally hid with the children.
"We've been looking for you, " González quoted them. "My kids were dead and suddenly DCF found the place they couldn't find before."
The death review also concluded that police needed to do a better job in domestic violence cases and that staffers at the hot line "should document accurate allegations statements without drawing conclusions [Staff should have identified the deceased children's father as the perpetrator]."
"I don't know what anyone can say to account for a tragedy of such proportions, " said Chelly Schembera, who was appointed interim district administrator in Miami last month. "This is one of many cases where an appropriate assessment of risk, and better coordination between government agencies, might have changed what happened. We'll never know that now."
On Sept. 24, 2001, Pérez collapsed and died inside his jail cell, 10B1, while awaiting trial. He had had a seizure.