Jewelry salesman Mario Hernandez, 68, still left his home in the difficult-functioning community of Santa Ana, California on Friday, March 18, 2005 for a organization meeting. He was by no means seen again.
On that day Hernandez took all of his gems with him, not just a sampling, according to Larry Yellin, a retired prosecutor with the Orange County DA’s Business office. That was not typical — and Hernandez was a man who always trapped to his regimen.
“He loaded it all up into his van and went off to his appointments,” Yellin explained to The Authentic Murders of Orange County,” airing Sundays at 7/6c and 8/7c on Oxygen.
Hernandez had suffered a stroke and was using medication so his granddaughter, Adriana Rodriguez, checked in with him in the course of the day. She grew to become anxious when he hardly ever responded to her calls.
When the aged jeweler missed the family’s Friday evening evening meal her problem turned into alarm. “My initially thought was he had a stroke somewhere,” explained Rodriguez. She drove all over on the lookout for him and known as the police.
Santa Ana Law enforcement Section officials explained to Rodriguez she’d need to have to wait around 48 hours to file a missing individuals report, so she introduced her own investigation. She contacted her grandfather’s mobile cellular phone service provider to get the very last quantity he dialed. The amount belonged to just one of her grandfather’s clientele, Rebeca Nivarez. She told police Nivarez mentioned Hernandez was a no-display for the appointment.
When Hernandez was gone 48 several hours, police filed a lacking individuals case. The official search for him and his van began.
“We begin investigating each individual avenue, each particular person that he may have come in make contact with with, each phone range that might be related, every single business customer that he may have had,” said Jim Schnabl, a retired sergeant with the Santa Ana Police Section.
That bundled Nivarez, who experienced no handy facts for law enforcement. Hernandez experienced seemingly vanished without the need of a trace.
On March 23, investigators located Hernandez’s van in Mission Viejo, an space in which he experienced no customers. “There was a solid scent of gasoline inside the van,” stated William Lackey, a retired Santa Ana Fireplace Section investigator, adding that the existence of gas recommended “an attempt to conceal proof.”
Law enforcement labeled the circumstance a murder, described the Los Angeles Moments.
Detectives collected proof from inside of the car, together with rope, empty jewelry bins, and plastic gloves that were sent to the criminal offense lab for evaluation. The gloves were being observed to comprise human DNA but detectives could not match it to any one.
Investigators circled again to re-interview Nivarez, in hopes of finding a clean guide. When they arrived at her property, her daughter, Claudia, answered the door. She educated them that her mother moved to Colorado on March 25. At the same time, Nivarez’s son, Ricardo Diaz-Nivarez, moved to Mexico.
The timing of the moves lifted crimson flags for investigators. Yet another just one arose when Claudia instructed authorities that in advance of leaving her mom gave her a pair of earrings to maintain for her. Detectives established that they ended up from Hernandez’s missing assortment.
Santa Ana police concentrated on local pawn retailers and observed that on March 18, the working day Hernandez went missing, Nivarez offered about 20 pieces of jewelry for a grand overall of $2,500.
Claudia Nivarez agreed to support the law enforcement. She gave a DNA sample to review with the genetic materials inside the gloves in proof. “We understand that the process to get DNA success is likely to be time consuming,” said Schnabl. “It’s heading to choose a number of months.”
By December, Hernandez’s loved ones was desperate for responses. Rodriguez checked in day by day for a progress report from the Santa Ana Police Office.
An sudden come upon jumpstarted the investigation. Claudia Nivarez ran into her mother in a Santa Ana supermarket offering out samples. She confronted her about Hernandez’s disappearance. Rebeca straight away deserted her job at the current market and couldn’t be located.
Sooner or later, it was verified the DNA on the gloves was a familial match to the two Nivarez and Claudia. It belonged to Claudia’s brother, Ricardo.
As investigators searched for a motive for murder, Claudia disclosed a conversation she had with her mom just before March 18, 2005. Nivarez stated that a psychic informed Nivarez that Hernandez had allegedly put a curse on her, according to “The Serious Murders of Orange County.” The hex could only be lifted if he was lifeless.
“It is extremely widespread in Latino communities to look for out the steering and guidance of a palm reader … the very same way that some people today may possibly adhere to the tips of their regional priest or rabbi or instructor,” stated Tricia Takasugi, a former tv reporter. “There are other communities that observe the guidance of a psychic.”
Nivarez informed Claudia that Ricardo, who understood about the curse, was at her property on March 18 when Hernandez fulfilled with her. Ricardo confronted Hernandez, who, in accordance to Nivarez, received intense and was killed by Ricardo in self-defense.
Performing with law enforcement, Claudia achieved out to her brother in Mexico and shared their mother’s variation of the situations. Ricardo’s response — “Why didn’t she just notify you the truth?” — was chilling, said Yellin. “The implication there is that there was no self-protection.”
Alternatively Ricardo “tells her that it was prepared,” said Yellin.
Nivarez was tracked down in Anaheim, where she was charged. Ricardo was arrested in Mexico and was ultimately extradited back again to Orange County.
Ricardo claimed to investigators that Hernandez was arguing with his mother and grabbed her hair. Ricardo struck Hernandez with a golfing club. When Hernandez pulled a knife to protect himself Ricardo wrestled it from him and stabbed him. To make guaranteed Hernandez was useless he strangled him with a size of wire. Alongside one another the mom and son disposed of the overall body.
In independent trials, prosecutors were faced with the task of achieving two particular person murder convictions. It was a scarce example of prosecutors trying to get to convict on murder costs in a scenario wherever no human body was at any time discovered.
The proof confirmed that Hernandez still left with all of his jewellery to provide, Yellin informed producers. “To me that’s proof there was a plan to rob him and likely a prepare to get rid of him.”
Rodriguez refused to reveal the place of Hernandez’s body. “He just laughed and mentioned, ‘I’m gonna choose it to the grave,’” reported Rodriguez. ‘You men will hardly ever come across it.’ How evil can you be?”
To understand additional about the scenario, enjoy “The Actual Murders of Orange County,” airing Sundays at 7/6c and 8/7c on Oxygen, or stream episodes in this article.