Kentucky Derby Death Investigators Watching Surveillance Tapes

The body of groomer Adan Fabian Perez was discovered in a barn on Sunday.

May 7, 2012 — -- Kentucky investigators are working with Churchill Downs to view surveillance footage that might provide clues about the mysterious death of a Guatemalan groomer hours after the Kentucky Derby.

Louisville homicide detectives identified the man whose injured body was found Sunday morning in one of the barns at Churchill Downs a day after the Kentucky Derby as Adan Fabian Perez. Police said Perez, 48, was licensed to work at Churchill Downs since 2008.

Perez's body was discovered just before 5 a.m. in Barn No. 8, four barns away from where I'll Have Another, the horse that won the derby, was kept.

The body was identified by Perez's 19-year-old son, Wilson Deejesus Fabian Perez.

Authorities are working with Churchill Downs to view footage from surveillance cameras in the area, but would not comment on where the cameras were located.

"At this time, a homicide detective is currently interviewing witnesses and individuals who might be involved or have information regarding the case and the medical examiner is doing the autopsy at this time," Lt. Barry Wilkerson of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said today at a news conference.

Since many of the track workers are so transient, Wilkerson is hoping to complete all witness interviews by Tuesday. Police are using Spanish-speaking officers and interpreters to interview the many Hispanic workers.

Wilkerson also spoke about numerous reported "altercations" leading up to the body's discovery, but would not go into detail about them.

"We are hearing that there were some altercations earlier in the day, but we're not sure if they were related to this," Wilkerson said. "Was [Perez] involved? We're not sure."

On Sunday, police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley told that authorities had found "evidence of injuries that lead us to believe he was involved in an altercation and that foul play was involved."

Wilkerson would not comment on the body's condition when it was found, but said, "There were some wounds that obviously [make us] suspect foul play was involved and there's some other situation that with the location of the body where it was, it just wasn't a natural event."

Perez was found in the back portion of the barn, not in a stall or with a horse, police said.

Perez worked for horse trainer Cecil Borel, the brother of veteran jockey Calvin Borel. Perez started working for Borel in 2008 as a groomer.

The owner of Barn No. 8, Angel Montano, told told ABC News affiliate WHAS-TV in Louisville that one of his employees found the body when he arrived for work and he did not know him. Some workers sleep in the backside of Churchill Downs.

Before the body was identified, police said there was no evidence of a connection to the Kentucky Derby or Churchill Downs, the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby is held annually.

"Mr. Perez was a father, a brother, obviously the son of someone. That's the purpose of how we investigate this case," Wilkerson said. "I believe this is an isolated incident of a tragic situation that took place. Another individual has lost their life and it is our duty to find out who did this."

Wilkerson said police have "no suspects at this time."