MONTEBELLO ( — Hours after police asked for the public’s help finding a missing family of six in Montebello, officers found a woman’s body in the family’s vehicle.

The news prompted a tearful plea from family for the safe return of the four missing children.

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A woman’s body, believed to be the children’s mother, was found in the trunk of a black Honda around 5 p.m. Wednesday at Harding Avenue and 3rd Street, next to Beverly Hospital and near the family’s home, Capt. Luis Lopez of the Montebello Police Department said during a news conference. The vehicle was the same car model as the Perez family’s car and had the same California license plate number.

Lopez said the body was turned over to the L.A. County Coroner’s Office to confirm her identity.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Erica Perez, 39, and her husband Daniel Perez, 43, along with their four sons – Jordan, 11, Jaiden, 9, Tristan, 8 and Alex, 6 – were reported missing from their Montebello home Tuesday, police reported.

The couple has a fifth son who has been staying with his grandmother.

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Lopez said Daniel Perez is now considered a person of interest in the case. Investigators suspect he and his four sons are in a black 2014 Toyota Camry with CA license plate 7FDS891.

“Right now our main focus is locating these four kids. That is of paramount importance. Investigators are working around the clock to locate them and locate them safely,” Lopez said.

During the news conference, Erica Perez’s sister Pamela Valdez sobbed as she issued a plea to her brother-in-law: “We just want to know where the kids are. Please, Danny, bring the kids back. Just drop them off at a fire station somewhere. Don’t hurt them, please — they’re innocent. Don’t do this. Please, Danny, just drop the kids off. Please.”

Police said neither parent had been answering their phones nor returning messages and Daniel Perez has been a no-show at work for the past two days, KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports.

Family members have told detectives that the parents’ marriage is unstable and the couple has a history of domestic violence.

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Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Perez family can call Montebello police Detective Antista at (323) 887-1200 ext. 249 or (323) 887-1313.