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News Release

Friday, November 20, 2020

Media Relations

Juan Hernandez Missing Person Investigation South Los Angeles NR20289wc

Los Angeles: On September 22, 2020, Juan Hernandez was reported missing by his family after not returning home from work that night. Within a week of Hernandez disappearance, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD) Robbery Special Section (RSS) Detectives assumed the investigation after someone attempted to extort money from the family for his safe return. RHD Detectives were able to determine the attempted extortion was not related to Hernandez disappearance, but he was most likely the victim of a crime and continued to investigate his disappearance.

LAPD RHD Detectives worked tirelessly in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine how Juan Hernandez disappeared and if in fact he was the victim of a crime. Ultimately, their efforts provided Detectives with a sequence of events to find Hernandez.

On November 15, 2020, LAPD RHD, San Bernardino Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team, San Bernardino Sheriff's Homicide, and FBI personnel discovered the remains of Juan Hernandez. Hernandez was found in a shallow grave along Afton Canyon Road east of Interstate 15 which is north of Barstow. The San Bernardino County Coroner's Office responded to the scene to recover the human remains which appeared to be the victim of a homicide. It was later determined by the San Bernardino County Coroner's Office; the remains were of Juan Hernandez.

On November 19, 2020, LAPD RHD Detectives with the assistance of LAPD Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) served search warrants at the residences of the persons of interest in Hernandez murder. The following suspects were arrested for 187 PC/Murder and booked at LAPD Jail:

1. Ethan Astaphan, 27 years

2. Sonita Heng, 20 years

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Robbery- Homicide Division, Robbery Special Section, Detective Jaramillo and Detective Hammer at (213) 486-6840. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also go to www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips."


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