Real Name: Leticia Hernandez
Location: Oceanside, California
Date: December 16, 1989
Date of Birth: December 13, 1982
Weight: 60 pounds
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Hispanic female with brown hair and eyes. She usually wears her hair in a pigtail and is missing her two upper front teeth.
Details: At around 5pm on December 16, 1989, seven-year-old Leticia Hernandez was abducted from the front yard of her apartment which she shared with her parents, grandmother, and six siblings in Oceanside, California. Her mother had gone to the laundry room for about ten minutes. When she returned, she discovered that Leticia had vanished. Since then, there have been several reported sightings of her with a man and a woman in their late twenties throughout the United States.
All the sightings have occurred at either highway rest stops or gas stations. Most of them occurred along Interstates 8 or 10; it appeared that the suspects were moving east. The last one occurred on January 1, 1990, off of Interstate 10 in Sealy, Texas, but Leticia has never been found.
Suspects: The suspected abductors were a Caucasian man and woman. He is in his early to mid-thirties (in 1990), 5'8", 200-250 pounds, with shoulder-length blond hair, and a tattoo of an outlined cross with writing inside on the back of one hand. She is approximately thirty-years-old (in 1990), 5'10", 130 pounds, has light-colored eyes, and collar-length, dirty bleached-blond hair.
They may be driving a 1975 Maroon Buick Skylark with tan leather or vinyl interior. The vehicle's license plate may contain the letters or numbers: "K R 9 6 6" or "C R 9 6 6".
Extra Notes: This case first aired of the January 24, 1990 episode as a roll call of missing children cases, along with those of Jessica Gutierrez, David Borer, and Malakia Logan. America's Most Wanted also profiled it on February 4, 1990.
Results: Unresolved. There were a few more reported sightings of Leticia; some of the sightings were in Alabama in January and in Florida in March 1990. However, on March 9, 1991, her remains were found off county Highway S16, twenty-three miles from where she was abducted. The medical examiner determined that she had died between three months and a year earlier. Further analysis of her skull showed that she died within three months of her disappearance. Red shorts were found with her remains; these were the same ones that she was wearing when she vanished. This suggests that the eyewitness accounts may have been mistaken. Police believe that she was murdered, and are investigating the case as a homicide.
One suspect in Leticia's murder is a convicted child molester and alien smuggler who lived down the street from the Hernandez family. Although he claimed that he was out of town when she vanished, witnesses and other evidence placed him in the area that day. The area where her remains were found was allegedly frequently used by smugglers. DNA from the crime scene was compared to the suspect, but the results were inconclusive. Although the man was investigated by a federal grand jury, he was never arrested.
Her mother, who was also named Leticia Hernandez, died in 1998, without ever learning who killed her, and the case remains unsolved.
- Police Have Few Leads in Search for Girl - December 19, 1989
- Search for Oceanside Girl Kept on Front Burner - May 9, 1990
- After a Year, Kidnapping is Still a Mystery - December 16, 1990
- Missing Girl's Body is Found Near Oceanside - March 12, 1991
- Jury Subpoenas Oceanside Man in Leticia Probe - March 21, 1991
- Frustrating Case of Slain Girl 'Going Nowhere' - June 7, 1992
- Police Close Books on Leticia's Case - September 2, 1992
- Children's Unsolved Murders Add Questions to the Pain - July 28, 2002
- San Diego's dark history of child abductions -
- Disappearance of Leticia still haunts many - March 10, 2010
- Unresolved Reddit Post on Leticia's case - May 4, 2018
- Leticia Hernandez on Find a Grave