Wednesday, February 21, 2007

First conviction in murder of Hispanic mother, 3-year-old daughter

Botched kidnapping led to killings

Motive related to perpetrator's miscarriage

Father of victim was arrested on immigration charges; tactic questioned but did not prevent successful investigation

The Tennessean and WSMV reported on the confession and conviction earlier this month of one of the suspects accused of murdering Hilda Gutierrez, a young Hispanic woman, and her 3-year-old daughter Michelle on December 2, 2005. Christina Sanchez will serve two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Her motive was to steal Gutierrez's 1-year-old son, Michael, after Sanchez herself miscarried. Sanchez's co-defendant Danny Anderson is still awaiting trial.

Rudy Aguilar, the boyfriend of victim Hilda Guiterrez and father of victim Michelle, discovered Sanchez in Aguilar's apartment after she had committed the murders but before she was able to kidnap Michael. Sanchez fled and her identity was unknown. Aguilar reported the crimes to the police but was arrested on immigration-related identity theft charges pending the investigation. He was later released. The circumstances surrounding Aguilar's arrest caused concern among Hispanic neighbors that the crime would never be solved because witnesses or others with information would be afraid to deal with the police (story here). Tips from Hispanic residents eventually led to the arrests of Sanchez and Anderson.

At the time of the arrests, Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas praised the work of Detective Marvin Rivera for his role in the investigation (press release here).

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