25 Investigates

25 Investigates: Gardner mother killed by ex-boyfriend told judge she ‘feared for her life’ just two days before her death

GARDNER, Mass. — In the weeks before Migdalia Perez’s death, she had grown increasingly worried and fearful, to the point where she hardly left her apartment, her family told 25 Investigates exclusively.

The 47-year-old mother of four was terrified of her ex-boyfriend, Jose Muniz Badillo, who, they say, incessantly called and texted her and threatened her. He even showed up unannounced at the factory where she worked six days a week, said daughter Yariveth Marrero and son Osvaldo Esteves during an exclusive interview with investigative reporter Ted Daniel.

“He always was telling my mom, ‘You’re going to be with me and nobody else,’” Osvaldo recalled. “You’re with me and only with me. If I die I’m going to bring you with me.”

Over the weekend, her greatest fear came to pass. Muniz Badillo shot her to death before turning the gun on himself in the hallway of Perez’s Central Avenue apartment, authorities say.

A court audio recording obtained by 25 Investigates reveals Perez tried to obtain a restraining order against Muniz Badillo just two days before her life was taken. During a telephone hearing before Judge Arthur Haley, Perez can be heard asking the court to extend an emergency order she had gotten on July 27. Through a Spanish interpreter, she told Judge Haley “I’m asking again for the restraining order because once again I fear for my life. I am scared of him.”

The judge asked her to provide evidence or explain why Muniz Badillo presented a threat to her. Perez said that while he had not physically harmed her she believed Muniz Badillo could become violent, especially when he drinks, and was “afraid he could do something to me.”

Judge Haley ultimately terminated the temporary order saying the “evidence would seem insufficient for me to continue the order.”

The judge ended the hearing by ordering Muniz Badillo to stay away from Perez and her place of employment.

“That day she cried a lot and that day she said I don’t have the [restraining order] and I can’t be in the house anymore and I’m not going outside,” said Yariveth.

The family says they understand that a restraining order may not have prevented her murder. But as they plan her funeral they wonder why she was denied that protection.

Perez’s fears were fueled by two incidents, the family said. In late July, after she moved out of the apartment she shared with Muniz Badillo, he became enraged and destroyed the rest of her belongings. Photos and a video provided by the family show rooms with flipped furniture and clothing and other items strewn around.

“He drinks a lot and when he drinks he just treats her like really bad and she was tired of this,” said Yariveth.

But perhaps Perez’s greatest fear, according to her family, was that Muniz Badillo would one day do to her what one of his brothers had done 10 years earlier in Puerto Rico – shoot his wife before shooting himself.

“She was very afraid. She was scared all of the time,” said Yariveth. “She really needed [the restraining order]. I know it’s a paper but that made her feel better.”

It’s unclear how and where Muniz Badillo got the gun used in Saturday’s murder-suicide, but Yariveth and Osvaldo say he had been in New York and New Jersey before the killing and suspect he picked up the weapon while out of state.

Perez leaves behind four children and four grandchildren. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for her funeral.

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