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Fayetteville Police ID Body as Attempted-Murder Suspect

Posted January 11, 2008

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— Fayetteville police believe that a man whose body was found in a house's back yard was a suspect in two attempted murders and a home break-in.

On Friday, police said the body found at 1959 Aspen Court on Dec. 13, 2007, was Juan Pablo Hernandez, 36, who lived with relatives in the nearby Oakdale Apartments.

A neighbor searching for pine cones found the badly decomposed body covered with leaves and lying in the fenced-in back yard of a home. Investigators said Hernandez had been dead for at least two weeks.

"He was right here with my swing," said homeowner Carl Johnson, who said he and neighbors were surprised at the gruesome find. "He was halfway covered in my lawn bag, like the bag you see right there, except it was a bigger one."

Hernandez had outstanding warrants for two counts of attempted murder and first-degree burglary.

Police believe he broke into a Strathmore Avenue home and attempted to stab a woman and assault her 12-year-old son on Nov. 15.

"But eventually, the mother and son were able to push Mr. Hernandez into some sort of a room, either a bedroom or a bathroom," Jamie Smith, a Fayetteville police spokeswoman, said. "They were able to escape the home and go to a neighbor's house and call for help."

Hernandez also managed to get out of the house and run away, Smith said.

The mother and son each received non-life-threatening injuries. Officers did not release their names and said the two are out of state and do not want to be identified.

Police said they did not know if the confrontation inside the home contributed to Hernandez's death. Investigators have not linked the break-in to the death.

Nor have detectives labeled Hernandez's death a homicide. Instead, police were conducting a death investigation and said it could be several weeks before the state Chief Medical Examiner's Office determines the cause of death.

Johnson said he did not notice the remains because he had not walked in his back yard in a while. He remembered smelling a strong odor for several days, but he and neighbors dismissed it as a dead animal.

However Hernandez's body came to be in his back yard, Johnson said he hopes he and the neighborhood can get past the shock of the discovery.

"Rest his soul, man," Johnson said. "He laid in my back yard. Guess he say, 'If you're gonna find me, you're gonna find me dead.' And that's basically what happened to him."


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  • doubletrouble Jan 11, 2008

    Apparently "something" happened, and was not self inflicted. Maybe the people who got broken into, had family who knew this guy, and took care of him. Either way, no skin off my back..he was where he needed to be..close to the trash.

  • 1Moms_View Jan 11, 2008

    "Neighbors said they noticed a strong odor for several days but thought it was a dead animal."

    Yep, guess it was a dead animal...a criminal one at that. Looks like he won't be riding the judicial system at the taxpayers' expense at least. Although we'll still be footing the bill for the autospy, burial, and police man hours to search (why bother??) for his killer.

  • clickclackity2 Jan 11, 2008

    i hope their not really going to waste time on him.

  • kategbrown Jan 11, 2008

    Im not shedding any tears over this. Sounds like he ended up right where he belongs, in a trash bag.

  • Sabertooth Jan 11, 2008

    What better way to solve several unsolved cases then to put the blame on someone that can't defend themselves...think about that.

    At the same time I wonder about the innocence of the woman and her son, could she have lured him into her home with the intention of robbing him and then wound up stabbing him?

  • moonpie Jan 11, 2008

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Jan 11, 2008

    He went into the back yard to hide...ok so who covered him up with leaves and a bag?

  • GulfWarVet Jan 11, 2008

    "Neighbors said they noticed a strong odor for several days but thought it was a dead animal."

    well, they got that right! Anyone who goes around breaking into homes and attempting to murder folks can't be labeled a human.

  • Mommy2Alana Jan 11, 2008

    They found this guy around the corner from my mothers house.. He had not been shot, but he was stabbed multiple times. They say he went into this backyard to hide and just died. Scary to think you could go out into your backyard and find a corpse. That's the world today.

  • Meandmytwo Jan 11, 2008

    Well, at least the citizens and the police will not have to worry about him anymore. Another bites the dust. He messes with the wrong people this time.