The Unsolved: Evelyn Hernandez

          This month’s unsolved murder is a case that has come to be known as “the other Laci Peterson” which is a term that I will not be using, because it diminishes Evelyn Hernandez’s life and humanity to be secondhand to a white woman. To be honest, the two cases are inextricably linked – of the scant resources out there relating to Evelyn Hernandez’s death, most involve the murder of Laci Peterson in some way. It’s infuriating, but ultimately inevitable. You’ll see why that is when we get to the theories. Let’s explore.

Who Was Evelyn?

          Buckle up, everyone. I’m sure you’re going to be shocked, but…not a lot of information about Evelyn’s personal life is publicly known. Let’s go over what we do know. Evelyn Hernandez was born in El Salvador on February 23, 1978. She moved to the United States when she was 14 years old, so sometime in 1992 or 1993. And then, over the next ten years, there is little information available. Evelyn had her first son, named Alexis, on November 6, 1996. She was not fluent in English. She worked as a licensed vocational nurse in 2002. And that’s about all we know, unfortunately.

The Disappearance

          Then, on May 1, 2002, Evelyn disappeared. The previous night she had spoken to two of her sisters and her boyfriend. She seemed happy on the phone and by all accounts, she was very excited over her burgeoning pregnancy. On the first, she took her son to daycare and ran errands as usual. And then, they disappeared. The initial theory put forth by investigating officers was that Evelyn left of her own accord to give birth in peace. The problem with that theory, however, was that Evelyn was not fluent in English, and both her and her son’s passports were left behind. After a few days, with the specific date apparently being lost to history, Evelyn’s wallet was found in a gas station parking lot. It still contained cash and a disability check made out to Evelyn. It was clear then that something had happened to make Evelyn Hernandez disappear.

(Evelyn and her son Alexis, shortly before their disappearance.
via Alta.com)

The Discovery

          These suspicions were definitively confirmed in July of 2002, when part of a badly decomposing body was found near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. The partial remains consisted of boy legs and part of a torso. DNA testing was conducted and confirmed that the remains belonged to Evelyn. However, the rest of her body has never been located and Alexis and her yet-unborn son Fernando have never been found. 

Theories

           There are three main theories that seem to crop up again and again when researching the murder of Evelyn Hernandez. We’re going to tackle them in order from least likely to most likely to be true. On the least likely end of the spectrum, we have the theory that Scott Peterson is responsible for the death of Evelyn. This theory relies upon the assumption that Scott Peterson is also responsible for Laci Peterson’s murder. The basic theory is that Scott Peterson is a possible serial killer who targeted pregnant women. I can see why there’s a willingness to believe in this theory – it’s the hope that there’s only one Bad Guy out there and he was caught, rather than there being multiple that were not. And there were some similarities between Evelyn and Laci’s murders but, that in itself is not enough for me to buy into this theory. There was too much going on in Evelyn’s personal life, and no evidence that she ever even crossed paths with Scott Peterson.
          The second theory is that an unknown person killed Evelyn. With this theory we have to guess at the motivation behind the theory. Robbery doesn’t seem likely, as there was still cash in her wallet when it was found. That leaves two possibilities. The first is that Evelyn’s murder was a senseless act of violence and the act was the motivation for the attack. However, it should be pointed out that attacks such as these are incredibly rare. The second possibility I see is that Evelyn was killed so her children could be taken. Alexis and the yet-unborn Fernando have never been located, deceased or alive. Perhaps whoever killed Evelyn did so to take the boys and raise them as their own. The possibility is slim, but it is there nonetheless.
          The third and most likely theory is that Evelyn’s boyfriend is responsible for her murder. Sources say that he was not excited to be a father, and the relationship was on the rocks as a result. Also, he was married at the time he was dating Evelyn. The gas station near where the wallet was eventually found was said to be one her boyfriend was a regular at. We all know that violent crime is most often perpetrated by someone close to the victim. It seems reasonable to guess that Evelyn’s boyfriend, unhappy with the prospect of having a child with Evelyn and putting his marriage in danger, took extreme steps to ensure that she would not have the child and would not be an issue for him. Of course, there’s no real evidence against anyone, so until something else is found or scientific advancements are made, the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hernandez will persist.

Sources

  1. https://www.altaonline.com/dispatches/a5143/a-tale-of-two-killings/
  2. http://charleyproject.org/case/alexis-geraldo-hernandez
  3. https://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=131949&page=1
  4. https://philosophyofcrime.com/the-unsolved-case-of-evelyn-hernandez-and-her-missing-boys/
  5. https://people.com/archive/the-other-laci-peterson-who-killed-evelyn-hernandez-vol-60-no-1/
  6. https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Eerily-similar-case-languishes-in-obscurity-2621215.php
  7. https://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/06/19/peterson.case/
  8. http://pwc-sii.com/Media/missing.htm
  9. https://www.sanfranciscopolice.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/SfpdEvelynHernandezRewardBulletin.pdf.pdf

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