FRESNO, Calif. (YourCentralValley.com) — Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputies have announced the arrest of a man who is accused of killing Missy Hernandez.
Ramon Jimenez, 41, has been booked into the Fresno County Jail on suspicion of killing Hernandez and is not eligible for bail. Jimenez has been in jail since Dec. 8 due to an arrest related to a previous domestic violence charge according to authorities. A charge of murder was added to his record on Dec. 11.
Hernandez was last seen on Dec. 7 at an art show in Downtown Fresno, said Sheriff Margaret Mims, where she left with Jimenez. The next day, Hernandez’s friends contacted Sheriff’s deputies because they were unable to locate her.
On Dec. 8, investigators say a deputy arrived at Hernandez’s home and found Jimenez. The deputy identified him as a person wanted for domestic violence against Hernandez in Oct. at the same location, investigators say.
On Dec. 9, Hernandez’s friends entered her home, where investigators say they found evidence that she may be injured and in need of help. Evidence found in her home led authorities to rule her disappearance as suspicious. Jimenez was listed as a person of interest in Hernandez’s disappearance and a no-bail hold request was approved.
A month-long investigation gave detectives an “overwhelming amount of forensic and digital evidence,” said Sheriff Margaret Mims. That evidence included DNA that indicated a violent act had occurred at Hernandez’s home, and digital evidence of where Hernandez might be, detectives said, although Hernandez was not found.
“Based on the evidence and the length of time Missy’s been gone, detectives have reason to believe that she is dead and Jimenez is responsible for her death,” said Sheriff Margaret Mims. Deputies continue to search for Hernandez.
“What makes this case very unique is we’re going to have a prosecution without having the actual body of the deceased person,” said Sheriff Mims referencing the last time prosecution of that nature occurred in Fresno County in 1974, that being the murder of Mary Sue Kitts by Clarence Ray Allen at Fran’s Market in Fresno County. Allen was executed by lethal injection in 2006 at San Quentin State Prison.
Jimenez is due in court for a continued arraignment on March 22, where the issue of bail will be revisited. Jimenez had a prior DUI charge from 2011 on his record, but Sheriff Mims said “based on the evidence at the scene, and the prior domestic violence, we know now he had the propensity for violence and the evidence at the scene shows there was a lot of violence at that home.”
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.
According to Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, Jimenez will face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
“It’s always difficult to try cases if you don’t have a perfect case, but I am confident after seeing what I saw this morning in the briefing,” Smittcamp said. “I think that when the facts of this case are revealed, you will see that there really is not any other option other than to believe that this poor young woman is no longer living.”
Smittcamp expressed how difficult a prosecution of a homicide charge with no recovered remains can be, but added, “We are confident that we will be able to successfully prosecute this case and prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that this person very violently murdered Miss Hernandez.”
The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Fresno County Sheriff’s Detective Gary Haslam at (559) 367-4734.