‘Please, somebody, speak up’: Family of teen found strangled in ditch grieve, hope for answers

Kaitlin Hernandez’s family will hold a vigil Friday night for the 17-year-old

SAN ANTONIOEDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect a new time and location for Friday’s vigil

Kaitlin Hernandez was supposed to walk the graduation stage in May, but she never returned from a walk with a friend Tuesday in her Northeast side neighborhood.

Now, her family is asking for help finding answers, and Crime Stoppers has even offered a reward for information.

“She wanted to become a veterinarian,” her aunt, Crystal Rodriguez, told KSAT on Thursday. “Y’all took her from us too soon. Seventeen years old.”

The Roosevelt High School senior’s nude body was found under a bridge in a drainage ditch on the 7600 block of Oak Dell Drive late Tuesday night. She was less than a half-mile from home.

San Antonio police said Hernandez had gone for a walk with a guy friend from the neighborhood, whom Hernandez’s family saw a few hours later without her. The friend reportedly told the family he didn’t know where the teen was.

Hernandez’s phone was discovered in a ditch by another man, who saw it light up. After further searching, officers found a jacket and Hernandez’s body. The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office said someone strangled her.

SAPD interviewed the friend with whom she had gone walking. Though they originally asked for the public’s help locating a separate “person of interest,” police have since said they found the man and he is cooperating.

The past two days have Hernandez’s family reeling.

“We’re barely holding up,” Rodriguez said. “We’re taking life right now one minute at a time.”

Rodriguez would not discuss the ongoing investigation. Instead, she focused on who her animal-loving niece was as a person.

Hernandez had four dogs and a habit of feeding strays, Rodriguez said. She loved basketball and playing with her younger sisters at the park.

“And now her little sisters, they no longer have time with her,” Rodriguez said through tears.

But Rodriguez hopes there is still time to find the person or people responsible for her niece’s murder. She hopes someone saw, heard or knows something.

“I used to live in this area. So I know what you see, you don’t say. But I’m begging you. Please. Please, somebody, speak up,” Rodriguez said.

It’s a plea that only a witness can answer.

Friday night vigil

Hernandez’s family is planning a vigil for 4 p.m. Friday at the bridge where she was found in the 7600 block of Dell Oak Drive.

Crime Stoppers reward

On Thursday, Crime Stoppers announced it is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to a felony arrest.

Tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 210-224-STOP, texting “Tip 127 plus your tip” to CRIMES (274637), or using the P3 Tips app. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

More related stories on KSAT.com

About the Authors

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

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