FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A 40-day search for Missy Hernandez’s body came to an end over the weekend in Fresno County.
During a press conference Tuesday, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims announced a dive team had recovered her body from the bottom of an aqueduct near Huron on Sunday.
“Hernandez’s body was discovered, weighted down, beneath the surface,” explained Mims.
Before her body had been found, deputies said the suspicious circumstances around and the length of Hernandez’s disappearance had led to the presumption of her death.
On Sunday, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Dive Team made what deputies call a “dangerous dive operation at a specific area of the California Aqueduct,” where Hernandez’s body was found.
“The move would ultimately bring a sense of closure as Hernandez’s body was discovered beneath the water,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
Hernandez was last seen leaving an art show in downtown Fresno on December 7th with her boyfriend, 41-year-old Ramon Jiminez. The following day, Jiminez was arrested on a previous domestic violence charge. He is not eligible for bail.
Despite not being able to find Hernandez’s body at the time, officials say they were confident in arresting Jiminez because of the overwhelming amount of digital and forensic evidence found during a month-long investigation. During a search of Hernandez’s home, detectives say they found DNA evidence that indicates a violent act took place.
Sheriff Mims said that Hernandez and Jimenez had not been in a romantic relationship very long, but that they were together at the time of the domestic violence.
A charge of murder was added to Jimenez’s record on Dec. 11. According to Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, he will face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. He is due in court for a continued arraignment on March 22, where the issue of bail will be revisited.
The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Fresno County Sheriff’s Detective Gary Haslam at (559) 367-4734.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by the Hernandez family to help with funeral expenses.