February 21, 2024

A person who authorities say choked his girlfriend to loss of life, wrapped her physique in a carpet and helped throw her off of an Ortega Freeway mountainside in Orange County below the quilt of darkness in 2019 has been convicted of homicide.

Hugo Leonel Hernandez, 46, is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 16 after getting convicted on Dec. 29 in Superior Court docket in Riverside. After a 10-day trial, jurors reached a call in in the future.

Hugo Leonel Hernandez, 46, referred to girlfriend Katherine Mary Neitzke, 33, as “a rat” earlier than choking her to loss of life and disposing of her physique after wrapping it in carpet, prosecutors stated. He was convicted of homicide on Dec. 29, 2023. (Courtesy of Riverside County Sheriff’s Division) 

A good friend of Hernandez, Edilberto “Eddie” Avena, pleaded responsible to being an adjunct to against the law final March and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 9.

The physique of 33-year-old Katherine Mary Neitzke, a Hemet resident till shifting to Romoland, had not been discovered on the time the lads have been arrested, though Avena led investigators to the world the place he stated her physique was left, described as two to 5 miles east of Quest Diagnostics, in Orange County.

On Friday, it was unclear if her physique was ever discovered.

Hernandez was arrested in Oceanside a 12 months in the past. The Sheriff’s Division started investigating the case in December 2019 when relations reported Neitzke lacking from the barn-like construction the place she had been not too long ago dwelling in Romoland. Kin had not heard from her since that July 25, when Neitzke frantically known as a good friend, asking to be picked up. Neitzke then advised the good friend that she’d name her again however by no means did.