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News / Northwest

Missing Washington woman found dead in Mexico; 1 arrested

By Caitlyn Freeman, The Seattle Times
Published: March 11, 2024, 8:09pm

SEATTLE — A 54-year-old Renton woman was found dead in Mexicali, Mexico, after going missing two weeks ago, police officials said Monday.

Friends told police they last heard from Reyna Hernandez on Feb. 26, when she said she was running errands before heading to her home in south Renton. She was reported missing two days later after she didn’t open her Renton Highlands hair salon and didn’t answer calls.

On Friday, Renton police learned of a news article about an unidentified body found in a cemetery in Mexicali, the capital city of Baja California.

Mexicali borders California and is a port of entry between the U.S. and Mexico.

After contacting Mexicali authorities, investigators were able to identify Hernandez over the weekend.

Mexican law enforcement officials arrested a 61-year-old Renton man on unrelated charges and recovered Hernandez’s vehicle, a white and maroon Ford Flex.

Police said the death appears to be related to a domestic violence incident and that there was evidence she was taken against her will.

“This is the worst possible outcome, and our hearts go out to Reyna’s family and friends,” Renton police Cmdr. Chandler Swain said in a news release. “We are working closely with Mexicali police and our U.S. Federal partners to determine when and where Reyna was killed.”

Detectives will need to determine the time and manner of death before figuring out where Hernandez was killed. The 61-year-old man will be extradited if the death happened in the U.S., police said.