Details of Disappearance Hernandez was last seen in Santa Ana, California on March 17, 2005. He left his home in the Town and Country Village mobile home park at 5th Street and Harbor Boulevard and has never been heard from again.
At the time of his disappearance, he worked selling jewelry door to door out of his blue 1993 Mazda MPV van. His last appointment was with a regular customer, Rebeca Diaz-Nivarez.
About a week after Hernandez's disappearance, his van was found abandoned in Mission Viejo, California. The interior smelled of gasoline, but there were no indications of foul play and no sign of Hernandez. There has been no activity on his bank accounts since his disappearance, and his loved ones stated it was uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning.
In November 2007, two and a half years after Hernandez's disappearance, Rebeca was arrested and charged with his robbery and murder. She pawned dozens of jewelry items, worth about $2,500 in total, at several Santa Ana pawn shops shortly after he went missing. She also asked her daughter to hold a bag of jewelry for her and not tell anyone about it.
Rebeca's son, Ricardo Dagoberto Diaz-Nivarez, was also charged with murder. Authorities were initially unable to locate him, but he was later arrested in his native Mexico and was extradited to California in August 2008.
Photographs of Ricardo and Rebeca are posted with this case summary. Rebeca was convicted of robbery and first-degree murder in February 2011. Ricardo was tried in September of that year, but the jury deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial. He was convicted on his second trial in May 2012. Both defendants were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Hernandez has never been located, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.
- Santa Ana Police Department
Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 22, 2012; details of disappearance updated.