I can't believe how random and horrible this was. What a horrible way to die. I pray that coward son of a bitch is caught soon. Now I'm scared to get something out of my car at night, when it's not parked in front of my house. *sigh*
Here's the complete story:
Monday, February 2, 2004
A Newark woman and her 19-year-old daughter were bludgeoned to death on a quiet
residential street in Fremont early Sunday morning, according to police -- and
apparently were either being attacked or chased as a relative listened
helplessly on a cell phone.
The woman, who worked in the laundry room of a rehabilitation center for senior
citizens, was on her way to a 5 a.m. work shift when a white man beat her and
her daughter to death with a club near the curb of the street, investigators
said. Neighbors startled by the victims' screams said they looked outside their
homes and saw an attacker standing over the bodies with the weapon, then run
Police said the woman, identified by relatives as 39-year-old Maria Hernandez,
normally got a ride to the Fremont Care Center from her boyfriend, with whom she
lived. But on Sunday, he was unable to drive Hernandez, so she set out on foot
for the center, which is located roughly 4 miles from her home.
Her daughter, identified by relatives as Carmen Hernandez, fearing for her
mother's safety, volunteered to walk with her.
Shortly into the walk, Carmen called her cousin, Helidee Cuellar of Hayward, to
ask for a ride, according to Fily Cuellar, who is married to Helidee. Cuellar
said Carmen told his wife they were walking on Thornton Avenue, and did not
appear nervous as she asked for the ride. Helidee Cuellar agreed to pick them
Once in Fremont, however, Cuellar tried to reach her aunt and cousin by cell
phone to find out where they were -- and the phone was answered briefly, but all
she heard was screaming and footsteps, according to Fily Cuellar.
"She heard a scream, and then the call cut off,' Cuellar said in an interview
Neighbors who live near the corner of Alameda Drive and Contra Costa Avenue in
Fremont said they heard the screams of two women around 2:45 a.m. They looked
outside and saw a man holding a club standing over the women -- who were lying
near the curb of the intersection -- and a light-color Honda parked nearby with
three people inside.
When one of the neighbors came out of his house, the man dropped the club and
took off running down Contra Costa Avenue. The people sitting in the parked
Honda sped off in the other direction.
As one neighbor called 911, two others approached the women to see if they could
"I checked for signs of life, but there was nothing,' said Dick Wise, who lives
a couple of doors down from the slaying scene and arrived home just minutes
after it happened. "There was a humongous amount of blood and trauma to the
Police and coroner's officials did not release the victims' names, or describe
the murder weapon other than to say it was a club. But two neighbors who saw it
said the club appeared to be a thick tree branch.
Co-workers of Hernandez's broke into tears when they heard the news. Connie
Lucas, who supervised Hernandez, said she had worked at the center for more than
Relatives said that Hernandez was a very conscientious worker, and it was in
character that she would risk walking to work rather than miss a shift.
"This is the first time she walked,' said her niece -- who is also named Maria
Hernandez, and is one of several relatives who were living with her aunt and
cousin. She said Carmen worked at a Carl's Jr. restaurant in Fremont.
According to her niece, Hernandez emigrated from Mexico more than eight years
ago and has another daughter in her 20s, who still lives there.
Neighbors who live in the quiet residential neighborhood, south of Thornton
Avenue, said the only trouble they can remember in the streets related to
speeding cars. Town officials responded to those concerns by installing a speed
bump on the street several years ago.
"I've never gone to sleep worrying about whether doors or windows are locked,'
said Rebecca Hartsinck, who grew up on Contra Costa Avenue and has lived on the
street nearly 23 years. "This freaks me out."
Wise, Hartsinck's father, constructed a wooden cross out of scrap wood and
placed it in the ground next to the curb where the two women were killed.
Several other neighbors had placed flowers at the scene.
Fremont police said they are looking for a white male, who was
approximately 6 feet tall, wearing a jean jacket with tan sleeves. The Honda was
described as a light-color, two-door Accord, circa 1988-92.