Person of interest detained in Lexington homicide

December 16, 2016 GMT

LEXINGTON — An autopsy revealed that Jose Hernandez, 37, died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, Dawson County Chief Deputy Mike Hudson said.

Hernandez’s body was found by law enforcement Monday at a rural Dawson County residence 2 ½ miles north of Lexington on 434 Road. Hudson said Hernandez died at the property and his body was found under palettes and fencing near a corn bin on the five-acre property.

In an interview with the Hub Tuesday afternoon, Hudson said the gender and age of the body was unidentifiable.

“The way that the body was, we could not tell,” he said.

The initial autopsy results were released by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday afternoon.

A resident of the home is a person of interest in the homicide case, Hudson said, and drugs were allegedly found in the home during the investigation.

The resident was arrested Monday and detained in the Dawson County Jail for felony amphetamine possession and misdemeanor narcotic equipment possession, according to the Dawson County jail roster.

“He (the resident) has been questioned. But we are, at this time, heavily involved in the investigation,” Hudson said.

There are no other people of interest at this time, Hudson said.

Where Hernandez is from hasn’t been determined, Hudson said, but Hernandez did have ties to Lexington and had been staying in the Lexington area. Hernandez’s family in California was notified of his death.

According to the Lexington Police Department, Hernandez was reported missing Dec. 2. Law enforcement had received a phone tip last week that there might have been a homicide, Hudson said in a Tuesday interview with the Hub.

Until the full autopsy report comes back, Hudson said he doesn’t know how long Hernandez’s body had been on the property. Hudson also doesn’t know when the autopsy report will be complete.

“We’ve had it ... as little as three days to as long as six months,” Hudson said.

Assisting with the search of the rural farmstead and adjoining property were investigators from South Central Area Law Enforcement Services (SCALES), the Kearney Police Department, Lexington Police Department, Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office, Phelps County Sheriff’s Office, Dawson County Attorney’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol, according to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.