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January 22, 2007

Who Killed Felipe Hernandez?

Almost every day since I moved into my apartment in Santa Ana I have used the Santa Ana River Bike Trail in my commute to work.

I've seen a lot of things in that time, from trash to transients, birds to squirrels, bicyclists to walkers, and more, but what I've passed on every trip since sometime in late July/early August, touched my heart, and finally peaked my curiosity:


A memorial.

Under the 1st Street Bridge Crossing, it was being tended by someone who, when I stopped to look, from a distance, that 1st time, and called out a question, reacted in heated Spanish, so I rode on.

Every so often I would notice a change in flowers, and would marvel at the fact that no-one had removed it from the scene.

Not transients, not Law Enforcement, not County Clean-up Crews.

Not even God saw fit to wash it away during a rain.


The Bike Trail passes it, and there are entrance/exit, lanes to/from the street, on either side of 1st.

I wondered if I was the only one to glance at it as I pedaled by, and if anyone else ever stopped to take a closer look?

Finally, on New Year's Eve, I stopped again, and decided to do more than just look.

I wanted to see if I could learn something more.

A search of the Social Security Death Index turned up 1 person by this name, who died in Santa Ana, but he was not this one.

That one was born in 1904, and died in 1965.


Who was he why was he killed here, and how?

Someone who cared very deeply for this man was keeping his memory alive on this spot, maybe hoping the Memorial would spur someone to come forward.


The black metal cross is strapped by a rope to a bucket full of rocks.

Roses, and other flowers, surround it, and there is also a glass with a white Novena Candle, behind the bucket.

The Candle shows some use.

Felipe was born on July 9th, 1966, and died on July 1st, 2006, just short of his 40th birthday.

A Google Search revealed that the Santa Ana Police Dept. had put out a Press Release about the case:

On July 1, 2006 at about 6:25 a.m. the body of Felipe Hernandez was discovered lying in the Santa Ana Riverbed near the 1st Street overpass.

The case is being investigated as a homicide by the Crimes Against Persons homicide unit.

Hernandez was last seen at the transportation center located at 1000 E. Santa Ana Blvd where he was to board a bus to Tijuana, Mexico to visit his wife.

Initial investigation indicates Mr. Hernandez was possibly assaulted and thrown off the 1st street bridge.

It is unknown why Felipe was in that area, or who was with him.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Ana Police Department homicide unit at (714) 245-8319

Date: 7/13/06

Contact: Sgt. Lorenzo Carrillo (714) 245-8715.

There is a mystery, here, and it is not important whether Mr. Hernandez was in the United States Illegally, or not, though it's possible that if he was then that could have had something to do with his fate, and thus be important for solving his murder.

When was he at the Station, and when did he leave, who with, and why?

What led to his murder at the channel?

No-one should die the way he did, and maybe posting this story, here, will help spread the word of his case, and lead to its solving.

***A thank you to Sgt. Lorenzo Carrillo, of the Santa Ana Police Dept., for sharing the photo of Mr. Hernandez.***

***UPDATE -1/29/07*** The photo of Mr. Hernandez, that was here, has been removed out of respect for his family. A friend advised me that since Bloggers don't yet have all the protections that Mainstream Journalists have, I might have to get the family's permission to use the photo despite the Cops having the OK to distribute it. Anyone wishing to see the photo can request it from the Officer mentioned in this story.


***UPDATE 2 - Spring 2008***

Recent rains brought enough water to flood the channel enough to reach the memorial, and sweep it away, and it has not been replaced, as of Mid-May.

I think whoever had been keeping it up took this as some sort of sign to move on with their lives.


January 22, 2007 in Riding Orange County | Permalink


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Nice post, K.

Posted by: Fritz | Jan 22, 2007 1:24:55 PM

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