Name: Mario Rodriguez Hernandez
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: March 17, 2005
Location Last Seen: Santa Ana, Orange County, California
Date of Birth: January 19, 1937
Age: 68 years old
Hair Color: Black Balding
Eye Color: Brown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Walks with a cane. A mustache and glasses.
Additional Personal Items: Walks with a cane. Eye glasses.
Mario Hernandez, a door-to-door jewelry salesman was last seen on March 17, 2005 in Santa Ana, CA. He told his caregiver that he would return before lunch from an appointment when he left Town and Country Village mobile home park at 5th Street and Harbor Boulevard at 8 a.m. He had an early-morning appointment to sell gold to clients from Mexico, and he expected to return before lunch. He packed all of his jewelry and didn't return home that morning or answer his cell phone. At 1 p.m., his caregiver called Mario's daughter, who called police.
His 1993 blue Mazda MPV was recovered in south Orange County a week after he disappeared. Although it had not been burned, officers smelled gasoline throughout the interior. There has been no activity in his bank accounts, no phone records or any contact whatsoever.
An arrest was made in November 2007 of Rebeca Diaz-Nivarez, 43, who had a business relationship with Mario and a suspect in his robbery-related death. Nivarez, who cleaned homes in Mission Viejo for a living, asked her daughter the day after Hernandez was to meet her to hold a bag containing about $4,000 worth of jewelry and not to talk to anyone about it. Nivarez's behavior stumped her daughter and later Nivarez offered conflicting accounts in interviews with police. She told her daughter in a telephone conversation about eight months later that her son, whom she followed to Mexico to help him with his drug problems, murdered Hernandez.
Detectives found out that Diaz-Nivarez was pawning dozens of items of jewelry at several pawn shops in Santa Ana and learned she was Mario's last appointment. Pawn shop slips show that Nivarez pawned Hernandez's jewelry on March 18, within seven hours of him last being seen alive. Nivarez was charged with one felony count of murder. She was guilty of of first-degree murder and robbery and is serving a 25-year to life term in prison.
She claimed through her attorney during the trial that she was not involved in Hernandez's death and was only trying to protect her son. Ricardo Dagoberto Diaz-Nivarez, 22, the woman's son, is also charged with murder in connection to the case. Diaz-Nivarez, was arrested by Mexican authorities at a home in Jeutepec in the Mexican state of Morelos after Santa Ana police obtained an arrest warrant issued in Orange County Superior Court. Ricardo Dagoberto Diaz-Nivarez was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. Mario Hernandez's body has not been found.
Agency Name: Santa Ana Police Department
Agency Contact Person: Homicide Unit
Agency Phone Number: 714-245-8600
Agency E-Mail: Unknown
Agency Case Number: 0512123
NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: Unknown
North American Missing Persons Network
The Orange County Register
Added: 11/15/2016; Last Updated: 11/15/2016
Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team
** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.