DPD tracks down sex abuse suspectPublished 12:46pm Thursday, April 11, 2013
Two – that is the number of bus stops before Marcello Hernandez would have slipped over the border to Mexico and in all likelihood out of the grasp of the Dadeville Police Department.
Instead Hernandez, 29, is in police custody in Hays County, Texas. He is awaiting extradition back to Dadeville, where he has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor less than 12 years old.
It all began on Friday, April 5. DPD Investigative Sgt. Jonathan Floyd said the department received a report of possible child abuse and began investigating the incident.
“By Monday, the investigation had progressed to where we had filed charges against (Hernandez) for sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old,” Floyd said. “In our attempt to serve the warrant, we found out he had left the Dadeville/Tallapoosa County area.”
Information led DPD to Shelby County, where the Shelby County Drug Task Force provided some assistance.
“We were able to determine that Hernandez had purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico,” Floyd said.
DPD began tracking Hernandez with the help of the U.S. Marshals and cooperation from Tornado Bus Lines.
“We were able to track the bus using GPS, and at a layover in San Marcos, Texas, he was apprehended by U.S. Marshals,” Floyd said. “He was very close to Mexico. After that stop it was San Antonio, Laredo then he was across the border. If he had made it into Mexico, there was probably zero chance of getting him extradited back.”
Bond has been set in Tallapoosa County at $100,000. Police are still trying to determine Hernandez’s citizenship status.
During the investigation, DPD seized a 9MM handgun.
DPD Asst. Chief Chris Martin said closing this case took the efforts of multiple agencies and individuals. Martin thanked the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force, Shelby County Drug Task Force, Pelham Police Department, U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force, Tallapoosa County Department of Human Resources and Tri-County Children’s Advocacy Center.
Martin also extended his appreciation to DPD Officer Jose Garcia.
“Officer Garcia speaks Spanish fluently and was a great help,” Martin said. “He was a great asset to have for this investigation.”
DPD Chief David Barbour said those involved did an “outstanding job.”
“I want to commend everybody that worked on this case,” Barbour said. “This case was opened as closed as quick as I have ever seen.”