Palma Garcia Marlen-Beatrice, 30, Bayou Body Count No. 181

Back on May 13, 48-year-old Pedro Cueva-Ferman thought he had come up with the perfect way to get rid of his wife and get clean away with the crime, according to allegations in a probable cause warrant on file at the Harris County Courthouse.

He would pile her and their child into the family Lexus in the parking lot of their local Fiesta Mart in the 11400 block of Fondren. He would then smash that car into a concrete pillar at 60 miles an hour. He would next tell everybody that the car jumped into gear, and the accelerator locked and the brakes failed, and that he only ran into the pillar to stop his runaway car and save innocent lives. He later told investigators that he had told his wife "We are all going to die!" and meant it at the time.

And at the outset, this alleged scheme seemed to have worked. His wife, Palma Garcia Marlen-Beatrice, 30, was killed as a result of the wreck, and both he and his two-year-old son survived, albeit with injuries severe enough to send them to Memorial Southwest Hospital.

That meant that neither of them would be flying down to El Salvador the next day, as Cueva-Ferman had planned in advance. Police were much interested to learn of those travel plans, especially when they saw that Cueva-Ferman had not purchased a ticket for his wife. They were also puzzled by his demeanor in the hospital -- he never once asked about his wife's well-being after the accident.

At any rate, they cut no corners in their investigation. Witnesses and surveillance tapes contradicted Cuevas-Ferman's version of events. A thorough check of the Lexus's engine and drive train revealed no mechanical faults. There were no recall issues. There was no evidence on the scene indicating that Cuevas-Ferman had tried to brake.

The investigation lasted two months. Last Friday, Cuevas-Ferman was arrested without incident and charged with murder. He is currently being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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