Divers find Missy Hernandez’s body in California aqueduct
A body removed from an aqueduct in central California on Sunday is believed to be the missing 30-year-old mother Missy Hernandez.
While a press conference late Tuesday morning, Fresno County Sheriff Marguerite Mims said the corpse was painstakingly recovered by a California Aqueduct dive team near Siskiyou and Dorris Avenues in an unincorporated area just outside of Huron, California.
A press release notes previous efforts in the case:
Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding her disappearance and the time that had passed without any sign of Hernandez, detectives presumed she was deceased. Based on digital evidence discovered later during the investigation, several locations were identified as search locations for Missy’s body. On two occasions, our search and rescue team was assisted by the Kern County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team as they traveled the Grapevine portion of Interstate 5, checking areas of Frazier Park and Beak. Meanwhile, two separate ground searches were also conducted along the Highway 198 corridor in western Fresno County.
On Jan. 16, deputies conducted what Mims called “a dangerous diving operation in a specific area of the California Aqueduct” for three hours in freezing water where, ultimately, “Hernandez’s body was was discovered weighted below the surface”.
“We knew it was very important to find Missy’s body,” the sheriff continued. She said the discovery offered “relief” and “closure” to investigators and surviving family members of the deceased woman.
Mims noted the difficulty of the search and cited the presence of ‘sludge’ in the channel which she said often frustrated detectives’ attempts to maintain visibility as they searched for Hernandez, who had disappeared. for about 40 days from the beginning of December. Last year.
As Law&Crime previously reported, the beloved artist’s boyfriend, Ramon Jiménez, 41, was arrested and charged with murder in early January after law enforcement allegedly found, during a month-long investigation, “an overwhelming amount of forensic and digital evidence”, including DNA indicating “a violent act”.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Mims said she would not reveal details of the digital evidence gathered by investigators in the current case or the alleged victim’s “manner of death”.
The sheriff, however, noted that the digital evidence showed several possible locations “well beyond Fresno County” where authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies were looking for Hernandez. In response to a question about the relevance of where the body was found, Mims said the homicide occurred on South Chestnut Avenue in Fresno, California. She went on to allege that Jimenez simply used the aqueduct as “a hiding place to dump his body.” ”
Fresno County Assistant District Attorney jerry stanley said the discovery of the body “adds a vital piece of evidence” to the case against the accused.
Jimenez is currently being held in Fresno County Jail for murder and domestic violence. He is not eligible for bail.
Hernandez leaves behind a grieving family, including her 11-year-old daughter. There is currently a GoFundMe for their funeral expenses.
The deceased woman’s niece fondly remembers her aunt on the fundraising page:
My Aunt Missy Hernandez always lived her life making sure everyone around her knew they were loved and knew they could count on her. She loved so much and gave so much to everyone who came into her life, whether she knew you or not. That’s the kind of person she was, the loving, caring, selfless person who always gives and always puts others before her own needs. Her life could be all kinds of chaos, but she never wore it on her face; she directed her attention to the lighter side of things and taught others to do the same. And even when she was really tired, she made sure to treat others as if they were just as precious. His was a life that shone brightly just so the paths of others could be lit. His was also a life that exemplified brilliance on every level. I truly believe my aunt was one of the liveliest people on the planet. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her, whether they had known her for an hour or a lifetime. She lived her life to the fullest and made sure to never take a day for granted.
In the description of the fundraiser, Dolly Ayala says her aunt was abused “daily” by a “coward” and that despite “many” attempts to leave, Hernandez ultimately lost her life and her “long fight” with her alleged killer.
During the press conference, a domestic violence advocate spoke generally about the cycle of violence that so often leads to death in comparable cases.
“It’s the worst case scenario”, Marjaree Mason Center Executive Director Nicole Linder told the gathered journalists. “Unfortunately, Missy’s death isn’t the only one to happen this year. There have been several. But that’s exactly what we tried to prevent.
[images via Fresno County Sheriff – Coroner’s Office PIO]
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