Robbery ring bust results in homicide arrests

Sheriff’s detectives arrest three teens for killing a 54-year-old man in Orosi; teens were also involved in a string of robberies in Fresno and Tulare counties

TULARE COUNTY – An investigation into an armed robbery spree spanning two counties may have also solved a homicide in Orosi.

On Dec. 3, homicide detectives with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 16-year-old boy from New London, a 17-year-old boy from Cutler and 18-year-old Fernando Hernandez of Orosi in connection with the murder of a 54-year-old Guatemalan man on Oct. 23.

The man’s body, which was first reported as a hit and run, was found dead near the roadway on Avenue 408 near Road 150 in Orosi. When Deputies arrived on scene, they discovered additional injuries indicating the victim was possibly shot. On Oct. 27, an autopsy confirmed the victim had died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Fernando Hernandez
18 years old

During the homicide investigation the murder, a multi-agency robbery task force was formed to investigate numerous robberies in Tulare County and Fresno County. The string of six armed robberies took place between Sept. 13 and Nov. 4 beginning with Traver on Sept. 13, Orange Cove on Oct. 24, Kingsburg on Oct. 27, Fowler on Oct. 27 and Nov. 4 and Selma on Oct. 29. All of the robberies involved a firearm being brandished and shots were fired at the store clerk in two of the robberies. The suspects stole cash, beer and tobacco products totaling over $5,000.

Detectives from the Kingsburg Police Department, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Fowler, Orange Cove, and Selma police departments worked together to identify all of the suspects, which included four juveniles and two adults all of whom were affiliated with gangs. The juveniles ranged in age from 16-17 years old and the two adults were identified as 18-year-old Fernando Hernandez of Orosi and 19-year–old Martin Muro of London. The identification and arrests of the suspects took place over a 13-day period.

All suspects in the case have been booked into either the Fresno County Jail, Tulare County Jail, Fresno County Juvenile Justice Center or the Tulare County Juvenile Detention Facility on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, attempted murder, terrorist threats, escape, and various firearms charges. Anyone with information on any of these robberies is asked to contact Kingsburg Police Detective Lee Forlines at 559-897-4418 or [email protected], Fowler Police Sgt. Arthur Duron at 559-653-2482 or [email protected], or Valley Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP or online at www.valleycrimestoppers.org.

Detectives also found DNA evidence linking some of the robbery suspects to the Oct. 23 murder as well.

Detectives learned the suspects lured the Guatemalan man into a vehicle and drove him to the location where he was robbed, shot and ran over by the suspects. All three homicide suspects will face new charges of homicide, robbery and gang enhancement. The 16-year-old suspect is believed to be the shooter during the murder. Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218. Or they can remain anonymous by calling or texting 559-725-4194, or through email at [email protected].

TCSO Homicide detectives are currently working with the Guatemalan Consulate to find the victim’s family prior to releasing his name. He is described as a Hispanic male, standing 5’7”, 185 lbs., black hair and brown eyes. Detectives have created a computerized sketch of the victim. He was wearing blue jeans, gray polo shirt, black shoes and a baseball type hat and is believed to be from the Orosi area. Anyone with information on the possible identity of the victim or information on this case, is encouraged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218, or anonymously call or text 559-725-4194, or email [email protected].

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