Renton police take over investigation of business owner's death

The Renton Police Department announced April 4 that they have taken over the investigation into the kidnapping and death of a 54-year-old Renton businesswoman.

The department transferred Reyna Hernandez’s body to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, performed on April 3 — approximately four weeks after Renton investigators contacted Mexican authorities on March 8 and confirmed Hernandez to have been found deceased in Mexicali, Mexico, and six weeks after friends initially reported her missing on Feb. 28.

According to the medical examiner’s office, Hernandez died as a result of a gunshot wound of the head, with the manner of death identified as a homicide. The medical examiner listed the date of Hernandez’s death and location of her death as unknown.

The Renton Police Department and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will work together to build a case against the suspect, a 61-year-old Renton man, according to Meeghan Black, a spokesperson for the police department.

Mexican law enforcement officials arrested the 61-year-old suspect on unrelated charges.

“Typically, in an investigation like this, we build our case, the prosecutor files charges, and then a warrant is issued for the suspect,” Black stated in her email. “At that time, we would work with local and federal authorities to extradite the suspect to Washington State to stand trial.”

The Renton Police Department continues to collaborate with Mexican law enforcement officials to facilitate the process, according to Black.

Detectives stated Hernandez’s case served as a domestic violence crime, according to Black.

“We are still in the ‘investigation phase’ and are working with the [King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office] to ensure we are building the strongest case possible,” Black stated in her email. “We have not yet referred charges as we are very early in this phase.”

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office declined to comment regarding the ongoing case to prevent jeopardizing the investigation.

“We have great communication with [the Renton Police Department] and will continue to partner closely,” said Douglas Wagoner, a spokesperson for the prosecuting attorney’s office.