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Man sought in connection with 2020 Cathedral City murder found and arrested in Mexico

RIVERSIDE – A man wanted as an accessory to a March 2020 murder in Cathedral City has been located and arrested in Mexico.

 

Joel Sanchez, DOB: 7-2-01, of Cathedral City, has been returned to Riverside County and is scheduled to be arraigned on April 26, at 1:30 p.m. at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

 

Sanchez has been charged as an accessory in connection with the March 23, 2020, murder of Ruben Hernandez at a residence on Avenida La Vista. Cathedral City police were called to the home regarding the shooting of a man and a young girl. Hernandez died at the scene and the girl was taken to a nearby hospital and survived her injuries.

 

An investigation by Cathedral City police detectives led to the identification of several suspects, including Sanchez, who detectives learned fled to Mexico.

 

The Riverside County Gang Impact Team (GIT), which is supervised by the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, was contacted to assist in finding any outstanding suspects. GIT members are also designated as U.S. Marshal Service task force officers with the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Team. They worked in collaboration with Cathedral City police detectives to locate Sanchez.

 

The investigation resulted in Sanchez being located in Tijuana, Mexico. GIT members notified the U.S. Marshals Service San Diego International Liaison Unit and on April 20, 2021, Mexican law enforcement authorities arrested Sanchez without incident and released him to U.S. Marshals and GIT members.

 

Two other defendants have been charged in the case: Jose Agustin Sanchezcasas, DOB: 8-20-96, has been charged with murder and Ethan Joshua Bravo, DOB: 6-16-2000, has been charged with attempted murder. Both have their next court appearance on May 13, 2020.

 

Another man, Gabriel Hernandez, DOB: 11-19-99, has been charged with murder but is still outstanding and his whereabouts are unknown. Anyone with information about where he may be is asked to contact Cathedral City police at (760) 770-0300.

 

Sanchez has been charged with aiding Hernandez to avoid and escape arrest and prosecution, with an enhancement of criminal street gang activity. He is also charged with possession of an unregistered firearm – a shotgun, and possession of a stolen firearm – a second shotgun.

 

The Gang Impact Team is staffed by investigators and agents from the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshal's Service, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations Special Services Unit, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and detectives from the Banning, Beaumont, Cathedral City, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Palm Springs, and Riverside Police Departments.

 

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Author: John Hall
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