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Police Discover 'Severed Human Head' Stored In Fridge During Missing Person Search

The head was found inside the apartment of Catono Perez, who friends say hasn't been seen since early April.

By Connor Mannion
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Police in California made a grisly discovery during a missing persons investigation: a severed head stuffed in a refrigerator in the suspected victim's San Francisco apartment.

Investigators served a warrant at an apartment Sunday as part of an ongoing missing persons investigation and “a body was located in an apartment,” Sgt. Michael Andraychak, a San Francisco police spokesman, told local outlet KTVU. Officials told the outlet that a "severed human head" was discovered in the refrigerator of the apartment and the body has not been identified.

Friends of Catono Perez, the man who lived at the home, told KTVU they fear the worst as they haven't seen him since April 10. A missing persons report was filed on April 20, KPIX reported.

"Catono was just a sweet, loving, honest, open, good-hearted person," David Charbonneau said., according to KTVU. "We all loved him very much and this is a tragedy."

The missing persons investigation is reportedly linked to a carjacking that escalated into a fatal shootout between police and Justin Silvernale, 35, on Easter Sunday two weeks ago. 

South San Francisco police have said Silvernale attempted to carjack vehicles from two different victims on April 12, stabbing one of his victims with a knife at the station, according to KPIX. An off-duty police officer attempted to intervene, only for Silvernale to stab him too. 

Both the victim and the off-duty officer are expected to recover from their wounds. 

Responding officers soon arrived on the scene, but failed to incapacitate Silvernale — who then stole one of the responding officer's vehicles and led police on a chase ending at a Kaiser Permanente medical facility.

There, Silvernale confronted police officers with a knife and was shot to death by officers after refusing to stand down, KPIX reported.

Investigators found Perez's identification at the scene where police killed Silvernale  — leading to the current investigation for Perez's whereabouts, KPIX reported. 

Perez knew Silvernale but he didn't know what happened before Perez disappeared, Charbonneau told KTVU.

“I’m not sure exactly what Justin was doing in his life but I heard that Catono was trying to help him and I can see that," he said.

Police from South San Francisco and Daly City, in addition to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office are currently investigating Silvernale's fatal confrontation with police.