Almost Laci Peterson, But No Attention

ByABC News
July 18, 2003, 10:24 PM

July 27 -- When Evelyn Hernandez and her 5-year-old son disappeared on May 1 last year, she had good cause to run away from it all friends say it was a revelation about her boyfriend Herman Aguilera, the father of her expected child.

Hernandez's friend Twiggy Damy told ABCNEWS how Aguilera seemed upset when Hernandez told him about her pregnancy. "I think he start[ed] seeing this is more serious than what I thought and now she wants something more and he start[ed] kind of backing up," Damy said.

Sensing the change in her beau, Damy said Hernandez called Aguilera's mother to ask her if anything was wrong. "The mom confirmed he was married," Damy said.

On July 24, 2002, Hernandez's body was found floating in San Francisco Bay, just underneath the city's landmark Bay Bridge.

Police have not yet figured out what happened, but five months later, the fate of another young and pregnant woman who mysteriously vanished would become a national obsession.

Earlier this year, her body was also found in San Francisco Bay. That woman's name was Laci Peterson.

Summing Up the Case

Unlike Laci Peterson though, Evelyn Hernandez has not gotten the massive publicity that's become so crucial in helping to solve missing persons cases.

There is no shortage of these cases. In California alone, some 17,000 other women were reported missing last year. And crime statistics show that the murder of women is on the rise.

Criminologists call it "female homicide" and it's increasingly likely to be committed by someone with whom the victim has been close. According to the Justice Department, about a third of female murder victims are killed by an intimate husbands, boyfriends, lovers.

"It's extremely rare for a woman to disappear during her pregnancy. But if that does happen, the number one cause of death is murder," said San Francisco police inspector Holly Pera.

Police do not know if this was the case with Evelyn Hernandez. But there are suspicions.