2012-07-06 / Front Page
Simi woman stabbed to death
Victim’s grandson charged in city’s third murder of 2012
The slaying is the third homicide in Simi Valley this year.
According to the Simi Valley Police Department, at about 4 p.m. July 1 officers received a request to check on the welfare of Isabel Hernandez, 75, who lived in the Patricia Village Senior Apartments in the 1500 block of Patricia Avenue. Relatives had been unable to make contact with Hernandez and notified the police.
Patrol personnel responded to the location and forced entry into the residence. Once inside, they found Hernandez dead.
According to Senior Dep. Medical Examiner Craig Stevens with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, Hernandez died of “multiple traumatic injuries.” He would not specify how many times she was stabbed or if there was evidence of other weapons having been used.
After her body was found, Simi PD detectives took control of the investigation and determined that Hernandez’s 23-year-old grandson, Gustavo Rios, was the person who stabbed her. Rios was arrested at the Alamo Street police station while speaking with detectives about the incident.
“We’re out there on the scene and there’s lots of family members on the scene. So we’re talking to the family members and while talking to him, the detective asked if he would be willing come to the station to be interviewed further,” said SVPD Lt. Joe May, supervisor of the detective unit.
“He willingly came to the station… and during the interview the detective developed enough probable cause to arrest him.”
Rios was arrested on a charge of murder and booked at Ventura County Main Jail. He is being held on $515,000 bail and is due to appear in court today.
A motive is unknown at this time. According to May, Rios spent the night with his grandmother prior to the murder.
“He doesn’t (regularly) stay with her when he comes to town,” May said. “He is, as we understand it, a transient and has family in town and would occasionally stay or visit other family members.”
Rios was in jail just days before the murder. According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department records, Rios was arrested June 23 on a charge of vandalism: He had shattered a window at a business in Moorpark, Sheriff Sgt. Eric Buschow said.
Rios pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vandalism June 27 and was released on probation and credit for time served, Buschow said.
While Hernandez’s death marks the third murder in Simi Valley in the past six months, none of the three crimes was a random act of violence, said SVPD Sgt. Craig Dungan. In each case the victim knew the suspect well.
“Even though Simi Valley has had three homicides this year, it is a safe community,” the sergeant said. “And I would say that the number of homicides that we have had is an anomaly.”
Anyone with information regarding the murder is asked to call the Simi Valley Police Department’s Detective Unit at (805) 583-6967.