AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The Aurora Police Department, along with the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday morning that an arrest warrant has been issued for the roommate of a woman found stabbed to death 16 years ago.
Francisca Perea-Dominguez was found dead in her home at 12612 East Kansas Drive on July 1, 2006 around 3:04 p.m.
Police said she was stabbed and sexually assaulted. She was 42 years old at the time of her murder.
What led to the arrest warrant?
Investigators said DNA evidence led to the identification of Salvador Hernandez-Morales, 45, as the man suspected of killing Perea-Dominguez.
Arrest documents showed that Hernandez-Morales was living with Perea-Dominguez at the time of the murder, but it is unclear if they were romantically involved.
During the investigation, police learned that Perea-Dominguez went out with a male friend to the Silverado club in Morrison on June 30. The friend told police that they returned to her home around 1 a.m. on July 1.
“He stated that he told Perea-Dominguez that he would drop her off in front of her complex, but she told him no, to park in front of his. He stated that they talked in his car for a while, and then around 3 a.m. he walked her over by her complex,” documents showed.
The friend then walked Perea-Dominguez toward her apartment, and he went to his apartment. He was supposed to stop by Perea-Dominguez’s apartment the following morning to pick up items to take to Mexico.
A neighbor who lived below Perea-Dominguez’s apartment told investigators that around 11:30 a.m. on July 1 she heard a lot of bumping and running in the apartment above hers, but she didn’t hear any screaming or yelling. She also said a short time later she saw the roommate leave the apartment.
The friend that Perea-Dominguez went to the club with tried to contact her later in the morning but was unsuccessful. He said that he and his sister went to Perea-Dominguez’s apartment to check on her. His sister found Perea-Dominguez on the floor and noticed blood, so she called 911.
During the investigation, police searched for the roommate, Hernandez-Morales. Police said they went to the home of his sister, Maria Hernandez-Morales. She told police that her brother left some of his clothes at her apartment the morning of July 1 and asked her to wash them.
“She advised that the clothes were in two different containers, one being a large clear plastic bag and the other a white plastic bucket,” the document said.
The clothes had not yet been washed. Police said Hernandez-Morales’ sister signed a consent to search and seize form giving them permission to take the clothing left at her residence.
A Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab report found in 2007 that DNA on the clothing at Hernandez-Morales’ sister’s house matched DNA on the body of Perea-Dominguez, as well as a toothbrush and towel in her bathroom. Lab technicians also matched DNA to Hernandez-Morales’ cowboy hat, which was left inside his vehicle.
Timeline of DNA testing
Here is a look at the timeline of when DNA was tested, according to arrest documents:
- April 20, 2007- CBI returns lab report showing semen was present in sex assault kit
- May 24, 2007- CBI returns lab report with DNA profiles from semen and toothbrush and white towel collected during investigation
- Oct. 11, 2007- CBI returns lab report indicating that two persons of interest were not a match for DNA collected during investigation
- July 29, 2021- A cold case detective with APD reviewed the case and identified additional items of evidence that were candidates for DNA testing, including Hernandez-Morales’ dirty laundry and a cowboy hat found inside his vehicle
- March 16, 2022- An initial CBI report indicated there was no blood on Hernandez-Morales’ dirty laundry
- May 11, 2022-A CBI report indicated that DNA on the cowboy hat and the toothbrush and sperm had a “very strong” indication of being associated, according to a forensic scientist with CBI
The arrest documents did not reveal why the DNA from the clothing and the hat was not processed with the other DNA in 2007.
A warrant has been issued for Hernandez-Morales. He is facing charges of first-degree murder and sexual assault. Police said they believe he is in Mexico.
If you have any information about Hernandez-Morales’ location, please contact the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.
Highlighting cold cases in Colorado
The Problem Solvers are working to highlight cold cases in our state. There are hundreds of unsolved homicide cases, long-term missing person cases, and unidentified remains cases in Colorado where at least three years have passed since the crime happened.
Here are some of the other cases we’ve highlighted:
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- 18 people remain unidentified in Denver since 1970
If you ever have a cold case you would like us to feature, please fill out this form or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org-
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System shows there are currently 21,556 open missing persons cases in the United States and over 300 in Colorado.