Pearland librarian's legacy lives on as husband pleads guilty to her murder

Tom Abrahams Image
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Murdered librarian's legacy lives on as killer husband takes plea
"It's definitely been a long two years," said the victim's daughter. Her mom, Belinda Hernandez, was a beloved member of the Pearland community. Now, the family is beginning a new chapter.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More than two years after a former Houston Police Sergeant shot and killed his wife, he's plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

It's justice for a family still coping with unimaginable loss.

Belinda Hernandez was a school librarian, an educator, and a life-long learner.

In March 2019, her husband, Hilario Hernandez, who was an HPD sergeant for more than 30 years at the time, shot and killed her. He took off and was later arrested not far from the Texas-Mexico border, leaving the couple's adult children to grieve.

READ ALSO: Husband shot wife over what he perceived was her flirting with another man, court documents say

Christina Foos is their daughter. On Friday, she faced her father, who she now calls Larry, in court.

As her father prepares to begin his sentence, Foos is following in her mother's footsteps as an educator for Pearland ISD.

"It's definitely been a long two years," she said. "A devastating situation for my brother and myself. Essentially, that day, we lost both our parents. Mainly, what I made the focus about was her and her legacy. I made that known in the speech that it is no longer about him and it's completely about her."

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Foos is grateful this chapter is closed. Her mother's memory is a constant reminder of how to live a good life.

"We miss her every day. She is just simply irreplaceable," Foos said.

Belinda's legacy lives on at two Pearland ISD campuses, one at which she was the librarian and another at which she taught reading.

There are free libraries filled with donated books, all dedicated in her memory.

Sonia Serrano first hired Belinda more than 20 years ago and mentored her as the mother of two went back to school to become a teacher. She then earned her master's degree so she could become a librarian and share her love of reading.

READ ALSO: Family friend remembers slain Pearland ISD librarian and HPD sergeant accused in her death

Police still don't have a motive behind why Belinda Hernandez was killed.

"She had a passion for education," Serrano said. "She was a life-long learner. She loved books. She loved providing instructions to students no matter what her role was. She took every opportunity available to teach kids life lessons. "

Michelle Kiefer, the principal at Shadycrest Elementary, said she misses Belinda's spirit, but thinks of her when she walks into the library or when she sees the mural she painted or when she passes the little library built in her honor.

"We just couldn't be more proud of Belinda Hernandez and the legacy she has created, not only for her kids and her family, but for Pearland ISD and the whole Pearland community," said Kiefer.

In addition, those libraries mean everything to her children.

"We're so honored and feel very blessed that she continues to live on in our community," said Foos.

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