Erica Hernandez body found in submerged car at Pearland pond identified as missing Houston woman. Investigators yet to say whether foul play was involved.
The body found inside a submerged SUV on Tuesday was on Wednesday positively identified as being that of missing Houston woman Erica Hernandez.
The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the remains found in the vehicle as as those of the missing 40-year-old mother. Her cause of death has not been determined KHOU reported.
The breakthrough into the case came after investigators found an area that was consistent with a vehicle striking a curb and entering a body of water at the end of the road.
The SUV was pulled out of a pond near the intersection of Reflection Bay and North Clear Lake Loop. Police said it appears the SUV had been in the pond for a while, probably since the night Hernandez was first reported missing three weeks ago, April 18. Police said it appeared that she was the only person inside the vehicle.
Investigators said the FBI gave them information that led them to the pond in Pearland. They found evidence suggesting the vehicle struck a curb and went into the water.
Weeks spent searching for missing mom of three
Multiple law enforcement agencies had spent weeks searching for Hernandez, a mother of three, who was last seen in the Braeswood/Bellfort area of southwest Houston around 2:45 a.m. on April 17.
Hernandez’s family said they had been waiting to find out what happened. Finality was not easily digested.
‘It was hard yesterday. I couldn’t really … I didn’t really want to go to sleep because it’s hard. How do you sleep after that?’ Erica Hernandez’s sister Ashley Hernandez told KHOU.
The family said the last 24 hours have been surreal. Ashley Hernandez said she was writing emails to local lawmakers asking for help when she found out Erica’s SUV had been found.
The Hernandez family said they still have a lot of unanswered questions, including how the vehicle came to be so far from the family home. In the interim, the family said they’re relieved they’re about to bring Erica’s body home. Police said the investigation into what happened to Hernandez is still ongoing.
‘There’s no reason for her to be over here,’ Ashley said. ‘I think somebody had to have made her go in this direction for whatever reason.’
‘I am heartbroken,’ Rafael Hernandez, Erica’s brother, told KPRC 2 Wednesday. ‘I wish I could tell her I love her.’
‘Our investigators will leave no stone unturned, and we will look at anybody and everybody that was involved in this case,’ said Jason Wells of Pearland Police Department.
Investigators would not comment on if they suspect foul-play to be involved or if there was a person of interest in this case, but they did say the investigation is ongoing.