Pearland police say they have no reason to believe 18-year-old murder victim Joshua Wilkerson was gay — despite suspect Hermilo Moralez’s claim that Wilkerson made a sexual advance toward him.
Moralez, 19, is charged with murder in the death of Wilkerson, whose partially burned body was found Thursday in an overgrown field.
According to court records, Moralez told Pearland police the pair fought after Wilkerson “began to come on to him in a sexual manner.” But Lt. Oneismo Lopez, a spokesman for the Pearland Police Department, told Instant Tea on Monday that detectives have found no evidence to support Moralez’s claim.
“There’s no indication that he was anything but straight right now,” Lopez said of Wilkerson, adding that detectives have interviewed Wilkerson’s family, friends and some former girlfriends. “What it comes down to, they talked to a couple of girls that he was intimate with. … They did not get any indication that he was gay at all. He [Moralez] probably made it up to minimize his own responsibility, to try to put it off on Joshua.”
If anything, Lopez said, it’s possible that Moralez made a sexual advance toward Wilkerson, although detectives haven’t been able to confirm this.
“We’re looking at all possibilities, and that’s one of them,” Lopez said, adding that the motive for the murder is still unknown.
Services for Wilkerson were held this morning in Houston.
Moralez remains in the Brazoria County jail, charged with murder, failure to identify himself by giving false information to an officer, attempting to take a weapon from an officer and tampering with evidence.
Federal immigration officials have also placed a hold on Moralez, a native of Belize who came to the U.S. 11 years ago. Lopez said no further information was available about Moralez’s immigration status.
“I know that usually when they put a hold on someone like that, that means the person is here illegally,” Lopez said. “We’re not exactly sure what his status is.”