Reyna Hernandez, 54, missing Renton woman, found dead in cemetery on the side of highway in Mexico

ByJon Haworth ABCNews logo
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
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The body of a 54-year-old woman missing since February has been found in a cemetery on the side of a highway in Mexico, police say.

Reyna Henandez of Renton, Washington -- a suburb of Seattle approximately 12 miles south of downtown -- disappeared from her home on Feb. 26, according to the Renton Police Department, and her friends reported her missing two days later on Feb. 28 when she failed to return home from running errands and not opening her hair salon in the Renton Highlands.

"Over the past several days, detectives have served multiple search warrants and are following up on dozens of leads," Renton Police initially said during their investigation into the disappearance of Hernandez. "A friend reported that he last spoke with Ms. Hernandez on Monday, February 26, between 10:00 and 10:30 am as she was out running errands. She told her friend she was going to a home in South Renton. Evidence recovered in the search warrants indicates that Ms. Hernandez was taken against her will, and we do not believe her car is currently in the area."

The case took a turn, however, on March 8 when detectives were alerted to a news article in Mexicali about "an unidentified body found in a local cemetery on the Tijuana Highway," according to the statement from the Renton Police Department detailing the case.

Investigators from Renton subsequently contacted Mexican authorities and were able to provide enough information to identify Hernandez over the weekend, police say.

Mexican law enforcement officials arrested a suspect in the case on unrelated charges and authorities confirmed that a 61-year-old Renton resident is currently in custody in Mexico, where they were also able to recover Hernandez's vehicle.

Authorities did not say what relation Hernandez had to the 61-year-old suspect but did say that it was suspected to be a domestic violence crime.

"This is the worst possible outcome, and our hearts go out to Reyna's family and friends," said Investigations Commander Chandler Swain. "We are working closely with Mexicali police and our U.S. Federal partners to determine when and where Reyna was killed."

Authorities are now working to determine the time and manner of death for the victim and where the homicide was committed. If it is determined that it happened in the U.S., authorities would seek to extradite the suspect to face charges in that jurisdiction.

Reyna Hernandez of Washington disappeared from her home on Feb. 26, according to the Renton Police Department.
Renton Police Department, WA/Facebook