The tattoo scrolled across 20-year-old David Pettis' chest read: "If your heart's filled with faith then you can't fear."
The body of the slender, blonde-haired man was found the morning of Dec. 8 discarded on the side of a road near Nellis Air Force Base.
His remains were wrapped in several garbage bags. He was bound and had been shot in the head, a Las Vegas police report obtained Thursday said.
The tattoo helped medical personnel identify Pettis, a drug addict and drug dealer, who died in a dispute with his boss, the report said.
An arrest warrant for murder with a deadly weapon was issued Dec. 16 for 42-year-old Pedro Morones-Verdin. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous. He might have fled to Mexico, the report said.
Investigators think the body was dumped the night of Dec. 7.
Morones-Verdin, who employed and lived with Pettis in a North Las Vegas home, was involved in selling heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, according to the report.
Morones-Verdin paid Pettis at the end of each month for selling the drugs and gave him a daily supply of black tar heroin.
The relationship between the two men soured because Morones-Verdin thought Pettis was going to kill him, the report said.
Pettis' body was discovered about 10 a.m. on a short roadway in the 5400 block of Reflex Drive near a construction equipment storage yard.
The report said two women in a car Dec. 8 saw a bundle and were concerned a body might have been in it.
The women picked up a man who approached the bundle then ripped some of the plastic covering with a metal object. He saw "human feet bound with a black nylon strap," the report said.
When police examined the body, they noticed it had been wrapped in several layers of different material.
"The body was wrapped in several black garbage bags with red drawstrings and covered with clear plastic sheeting, an opaque shower curtain, blue velour blanket, a brown towel, blue nylon straps, yellow nylon straps and black nylon straps. Detectives could smell a strong odor of vinegar on the packaging material," the report said.
During their investigation, detectives spoke with Pettis' girlfriend, who told police Pettis had moved in with Morones-Verdin.
Morones-Verdin provided Pettis with a gun and a car. Pettis earned about $1,000 a day, the report said.
But he was growing upset because Morones-Verdin wasn't paying him and losing money gambling, the report said.
It said that on Dec. 9, police obtained a search warrant for the home near Camino Al Norte and Washburn Road. Inside the home, they found a large amount of blood had been cleaned from a wall and floor.
A bathroom in the home had been cleaned thoroughly. No shower curtains or towels were located in the bathroom, the report said.
Detectives also located Cortney Sears, who spoke with police Dec. 14. Sears told police Pettis had been living in the home for the past two months. She and Morones-Verdin shared a room in the home, the report said.
Sears told investigators Morones-Verdin heard from clients that Pettis was going to kill him.
She said on Dec. 3, she woke to the sounds of a fight between Pettis and Morones-Verdin. They were tussling over a blue hammer, Sears said.
Sears retrieved a gun for Morones-Verdin. She handed him the gun and saw him shoot Pettis in the head, the report said. Morones-Verdin was bloodied in the fight.
She also told police that Morones-Verdin disposed of Pettis' belongings and wrapped him up and put him in the trunk of a BMW parked in the garage.
The report said Morones-Verdin told Sears to leave the home.
She said Morones-Verdin got an unknown man to drive the BMW and dispose of the body.
She said that Morones-Verdin went to Mexico and that he ordered her to clean the car and sell it.
Police later located the car, which reeked of vinegar. Sears told police she didn't believe Morones-Verdin was part of the "Mexican Cartel."
Sears also told investigators she did not know where Morones-Verdin obtained his drugs and guns, the report said.
It's not clear whether Sears will be charged in connection with the case.
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Morones-Verdin is urged to call the Homicide Section at 702-828-3521 or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@review journal.com or 702-383-4638.