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Posted on: October 2, 2018

Cold Case Homicide Investigation - Unsolved Death of Maria Hernandez and Carmen Hernandez

The Fremont Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit has invested its resources into investigating and solving cold case homicides and missing persons. The Cold Case Division focuses on those cases with the highest probability of being solved with fresh leads and new forensic technology. Our mission is to give a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves.  Our ultimate goal is to give answers and a sense of closure to the loved ones of every murder victim and missing person.

Summary and Background of Homicide Case:

Photo of Victims

On February 1, 2004, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Maria (39 year old mother) and Carmen Hernandez (19 years old daughter), were walking from their home in Newark to Maria's place of business, approximately 4 miles away.
  While walking on Thornton Ave in Fremont, an unknown male suspect began following behind them on foot.  The suspect began to chase the two females and eventually caught up to them near the intersection of Alameda Drive and Contra Costa Ave.  At that location, he violently bludgeoned them to death with a large tree branch.  The branch was likely a weapon of opportunity and possibly came from one of the many trees in the neighborhood that had recently been pruned and cut down.   Neighbors were startled by the victims’ screams and woke up to see the suspect throw the murder weapon on top of the victims and flee northbound on Contra Costa Ave.  As residents began calling 911 and several others ran to the victims’ aid.  A vehicle, believed to be a Honda Accord fled in the opposite direction of the suspect.  Maria and Carmen tragically died at the scene.

Immediately after the homicide, detectives kept busy for several months.  The Department dedicated extra resources and manpower, sparing no expense to investigate the case.  The case was featured on America’s Most Wanted television series shortly after the murders, but unfortunately didn’t turn up any new leads.  After the extensive investigation, lack of evidence and leads, the case went cold and was eventually suspended.

The Cold Case Unit was recently contacted by KTVU crime reporter Henry Lee and asked if we would be interested in participating in an interview regarding the 2004 Fremont cold case.  This opportunity presented itself at a good time and we accepted the offer to re-publicize the case.  Cold Case Detective Jacob Blass worked with Henry Lee to tape the segment and it aired over the weekend on Friday and Sunday.  The segment can be viewed on Facebook at

Suspect Vehicle:

Photo of Similar Suspect Vehicle

A 1986-1989 Honda Accord, 2-door, light colored (possibly metallic) was parked alongside the victims during the incident.  The vehicle appeared to be occupied with three other subjects.  It is unknown if the vehicle was involved at the time of the murders due to the suspect fleeing northbound on Contra Costa Ave and the vehicle fleeing westbound on Alameda Dr.

Suspect Description:

Suspect Sketch

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male, mid 20's, 6'0-6'02" 180-200 lbs., with a medium to heavy build and medium length brown hair.  He was last seen wearing a blue denim jacket with light colored sleeves (possibly cream colored), stonewashed grey/black jeans and white tennis shoes.

Public’s Assistance Needed:

This remains a high priority open cold case investigation for the Police Department.  We are releasing information about this case in an effort to bring renewed energy and attention.   Information that once may have seemed insignificant could prove to be the missing element in solving open cases when combined with new tips and leads.  Anyone with information about this case is asked to please contact Fremont Police Department’s Cold Case Detective Jacob Blass 510-790-6963 or  Anonymous tips will also be accepted.   To send an anonymous tip, please text Tip FremontPD followed by your short (140 characters) to 888-777 or send a message via the web at

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