Suspect arrested in 15-year cold case

REDLANDS — Police are making headway on a 15-year-old missing persons case.

Seferina Marquez Ponce, 52, was arrested for murder in connection to the disappearance of Sara Hernandez Reyes, who was reported missing in October 1994.

Despite the arrest, Redlands police are not saying what information they have that connects Ponce to Reyes’ disappearance, or murder.

Carl Baker, spokesman for the department, said, “Ponce was (Reyes’) landlady.”

According to reports, investigators believe that Ponce, who was renting a room behind her house to Reyes at the time of her disappearance, had a dispute. They did not divulge the nature of that dispute.

Ten years ago, Reyes’ remains were identified in San Diego County, which is about 90 miles away from where she was first reported missing. Redlands police, which had been working the cold case for more than three years, arrested Ponce of Mentone at her daughter’s north Redlands home.

Said Sgt. Bob Yzquierdo, who investigated the case first in 1994 and recently, “It’s a big end to 15 years of waiting.”
Reyes was last seen on Oct. 3, 1994 at her residence, 1140 Ohio St. in Redlands, where she had been living for about two months. She left behind her 11-month-old baby.

Information led investigators to San Diego, San Marcos and Carlsbad, all in San Diego County, along with Merced and New Brunswick, N.J. for interviews with potential witnesses. Eventually, all leads were exhausted and the missing report became inactive.

On Feb. 14, 2000, six years after Reyes’ disappearance, San Diego sheriff’s authorities discovered human skeletal remains of a young female in a shallow gravesite located in eastern San Diego County.
An autopsy showed she suffered blunt-force trauma.

In October 2008, investigators were finally able to identify the remains as that of Reyes through dental records.

Suspect arrested in 15-year cold case was last modified: July 18th, 2012 by admin
Categories: San Bernardino