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Virginia Man Charged With Murder of Wife Found Dead in Woods After He Posted He Was "Looking Everywhere" for Her

Michael Perry, charged with killing his wife Avriel Hooks after a body was found in a wooded area of Amherst, Virginia, posted he was "not okay" while she was presumed missing.

By Gina Salamone
Husbands Who Killed Their Wives

The husband of a missing Virginia woman has been arrested for her murder after a body believed to be hers was found in a wooded area in Amherst, Virginia on Tuesday. 

Michael L. Perry III, 21 and of Lynchburg, was arrested "after he was detained earlier today in connection with the murder of Avriel Hooks," the Lynchburg Police Department announced Tuesday

Perry was charged with second-degree murder and unlawful disposal of a dead body and is being held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail without bond, police said.

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Perry and Hooks, who was 20, married on November 2, 2022, Lynchburg-based TV station WSET reported, citing court documents, but family members told the news outlet that the pair were estranged. The identity of the body found hasn't been officially confirmed to be Hooks, but WSET reported that the remains are believed to be hers, per her family.

Hooks' family said that she and Perry shared a 5-month-old son, according to CBS affiliate WDBJ

A security camera photo of Avriel Hooks.

Lynchburg police "detectives worked tirelessly over the past week, utilizing all available investigative resources and partnered with Hooks’ family, our community, local, state, and federal partners with hopes of locating Hooks safely," the department stated Tuesday. "Following the extensive search earlier today in Amherst County in partnership with the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, a body was located in a wooded area off U.S. 60 (Lexington Turnpike)."

Hooks was last seen by her family on August 22 at around 8 p.m. and was reported missing the next day, according to the Lynchburg Police Department.

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In a Monday update, the department posted that it "has been in constant communication with Hooks’ family and continues to investigate this as a missing person case. However, Hooks’ lack of communication with her family and abnormal absence makes her disappearance suspicious."

Detectives spoke with people who Hooks regularly communicated with to try to track her down. On Sunday, detectives, with help from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, "searched an area in the City of Lynchburg where Hooks frequently travelled," Lynchburg police stated, though nothing turned up at that time. 

While police were still investigating the case as a missing person incident, they described Hooks as a 5-foot, 5-inch tall white female with blue eyes and dyed red hair. She was last seen alive wearing black leggings, a black tank top, and pink nail polish, officials said.

A mugshot of Michael L. Perry III

On August 24, Perry posted on Facebook, "My wife is missing I'm not okay yo the police questioned me for 5 hours held me for 12 I need any information you can give I'm a husband and a father she's my wife and the mother of my child we miss her."

The next day, he wrote in a separate post: "If you know how much I love my wife and my son you would understand how hurt I am," adding, "I'm constantly searching and looking everywhere for my wife," and "I'm not okay."

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Hooks' mother, Ashley Pittman, described her daughter as "a firecracker" to WDBJ, adding that "she was my wild child and beautiful in every way."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact LPD Detective C.T. Davis at 434-455-6166, ACSO Investigator B. Escher at 434-946-9373, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900. Authorities added that an anonymous tip can be given online at P3Tips.com or by using the P3 app on a mobile device.   

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