Erica Hernandez was last seen leaving her friend's southwest Houston home at about 2:30 a.m. on April 18

By Harriet Sokmensuer
May 12, 2021 04:53 PM
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Erica Hernandez
Erica Hernandez
| Credit: Facebook

The vehicle of missing mother Erica Hernandez has been found in a pond in Texas with a body inside nearly one month after the woman disappeared.

On Tuesday evening, Houston police announced Hernandez's SUV was pulled out of a Pearland pond. Officials said a body was found inside. It remains unclear whether the body belongs to the 40-year-old mother of three.

Hernandez was last seen leaving her friend's southwest Houston home at about 2:30 a.m. on April 18. Thirty minutes later, she sent a text saying she was "five minutes away from getting home," her family told KTRK.

However, she never made it home.

Now, with the autopsy of the body pending, her family is processing the news.

"We found her car, but we still need to keep going," Hernandez's sister, Ashley Hernandez, said at the scene, KHOU reports. "There's no reason for her to be over here. I think somebody had to have made her go in this direction for whatever reason."

She added, "We still need to find out why she is here. Who did what? What led her to this location?" 

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Authorities said on Tuesday that information from the FBI led them to the scene. It's unclear what the information was, but once there, investigators found evidence suggesting a vehicle had struck the curb and went into the body of water.

A dive team was called and the vehicle was recovered. It appeared to have been underwater for an extended period time.

Hernandez is a single mother who works full-time to provide for her three children, ages 3, 16 and 19. She donates plasma twice a week to make extra money for her family, her family told KTRK.

Investigators believe the vehicle went into the water in the early morning hours, but the investigation remains ongoing.