Renton business owner missing since Feb. 26 found dead in Mexico

Mar 8, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: Mar 11, 2024, 2:06 pm

Photo: Reyna Hernandez, 54 years old....

Reyna Hernandez, 54 years old. (Photo: Renton Police Dept.)

(Photo: Renton Police Dept.)

Reyna Hernandez, a hairdresser and business owner in Renton, was found dead in Mexico after missing for nearly two weeks, Renton detectives confirmed.

Hernandez, 54, had been missing since Feb. 26 and was being investigated as a possible kidnapping. Detectives said there were signs she was taken against her will. On March 8, detectives were alerted to a news article in Mexicali about an unidentified body found in a local cemetery on the Tijuana Highway. Investigators contacted Mexican authorities and were able to identify Hernandez this past weekend.

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

A suspect was subsequently arrested in the case on unrelated charges. The suspect, a 61-year-old Renton resident, is currently in custody in Mexico, where they were also able to recover Hernandez’s vehicle. Detectives confirmed with KIRO Newsradio that this appeared to be a domestic violence crime.

Renton business owner left her home Feb. 26 to run errands and never returned

RPD said Hernandez left her home in the Renton Highlands on Feb. 26 to run errands and never returned.

Hernandez had not contacted her family or the hair salon she owns and works at, Reyna Hair Salon, since Feb. 26.

“She has not opened her business, which is highly unusual and she’s not answering her phone, which is out of character for Reyna,” Meeghan Black, a spokesperson with the Renton Police Department, said.

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Police searched a Renton home and investigators spoke to two men. Authorities said they still need to talk to the third man, but as of March 8, he was nowhere to be found. It is unclear if he is the suspect detained in Mexico currently.

“She always tells everyone where she’s at or what she’s going to do, whether she’s going on vacation, but she never leaves her business just like that,” Veronica Tapia, a friend of Hernandez’s for approximately 10 years, told KOMO News while Hernandez was still missing.

Tapia claimed Hernandez is not only a good person, but is extremely known and loved within the community.

German Sahagun, whose family owns a Mexican restaurant next door to Hernandez’s salon, said, despite her generally being a “very outspoken, loud, friendly” person, Hernandez’ demeanor seemed unusual the last time he saw her — two days before she went missing, according to KOMO News.

More on Wash. crime: Multiple suspects arrested after barricading themselves in First Hill

“She was kind of quiet that day, which I thought was kind of odd,” he said. “Usually, she would say my nickname, she would call me Roman as a nickname. That day, she didn’t really respond to me. I said hello to her first, which she usually says hi to me first. I noticed [it] was kind of odd.”

Sahagun has known Hernandez for a decade through being neighbors at work.

Once the time and manner of death are confirmed, detectives can determine where the homicide was committed. If it happened in the U.S., authorities would seek to extradite the suspect to face charges in that jurisdiction.

Contributing: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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