Ismael Hernandez came to America with his brother for a very simple reason.
Ubaldo Garay (Spanish translation): “To work, to help the family.”
Ismael was in the landscaping business, working hard so he could send some of his paycheck back to his mother in Mexico.
Ubaldo Garay (Spanish translation): You come with that state of mind, to have a job here, to live better in our country, to help the family.”
Like any 21-year-old, Ismael liked to go out at night. Unfortunately, on July 14 he was at La Fiesta Mexicana on Bird Road when a fight broke out, spilling into the parking lot.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Lee Cowart: “Regrettably, a person took a pickup truck and used it really as a weapon.”
This surveillance video might be difficult to watch as the driver of this Chevy truck chases Ismael down.
Detective Lee Cowart: “One can use a gun or a knife or various things. In this case, I think the subject intentionally ran over our victim, Ismael Hernandez, and used the vehicle in lieu of a gun or a knife.”
As Ismael ran for his life, the driver crushed him.
Detective Lee Cowart: “Our victim was pinned underneath the car, at which time the subject’s vehicle, the dark Chevy pickup truck, fled the scene.”
Ubaldo got the call from a friend that his little brother had been run over.
Ubaldo Garay (Spanish translation): “They let us in, and the doctor told me there was nothing he could do for him. I felt a lot of pain.”
Miami-Dade detectives soon found this truck, a Navy blue Chevy pickup that they say was used that night as the weapon to kill Ismael Hernandez.
Detective Lee Cowart: “We do know who owns it. We do not believe that the registered owner of that vehicle was actually driving the vehicle on that evening.”
Who drove the truck that killed Ismael? Detectives want to talk to two people. This man, Jose Mendoza. His father owns the truck. Jose Mendoza is called a person of interest. Detectives are also looking for this guy, Hugo Reyes. Detective Cowart says he “has probable cause to arrest him for aggravated battery in connection with the incident.” But both men have disappeared, and right now, police don’t know where they are hiding.
Detective Lee Cowart: “Regrettably, often times for various reasons, people don’t initially come forward, and that’s regrettable, and this is another one of those cases where we’ve had very limited input from the community.”
Last week, Ismael’s body was returned to Mexico and buried. His family has put him to rest, but they can’t rest, not knowing about the man or men who ran him down and killed him in a horrible way.
Ubaldo Garay (Spanish translation): “If someone knows something, don’t be scared to speak up. If someone actually knows, say something to get clarity. The sooner we have clarity the better, to bring peace in so much pain.”
These two men could answer some questions. Take a good look. If you’ve seen Jose Mendoza or Hugo Reyes, if you know where they have gone or where they are hiding, give Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers a call at 305-471-TIPS. You don’t have to tell your name, and you can remain anonymous.
And if you have lost a loved one and never want people to forget you are still Out for Justice, give us a call. Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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