Murder Charges Authorized In Brutal Beating Death

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (May 7, 2014) — Murder charges were authorized Wednesday for two suspects investigators say are behind the brutal beating of Jose Hernandez.

Hernandez was found buried in snow next to his running car back in January. Police say he died from blunt force trauma to the head. Maryann Castorena and Anthony Alfredo de la Garza were both charged Wednesday with open murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death.

FOX 17 was told Castorena was Hernandez’s ex-girlfriend. Investigators said Hernandez was found Jan. 6 in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Park Township.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mark Bennett says the motive appears to be $1.25 millon worth of life insurance. He says Castorena was the beneficiary. Castorena and Alfredo de la Garza were both charged previously when they were accused of lying to investigators during the investigation.

Investigators tell us they found a letter between the two that talked about how they would commit the crime.

Castorena had been dating Hernandez until they split up in the summer of 2013. She moved to California, but her 19-year-old son continued living with Hernandez. Investigators say that son was friends with Alfredo de la Garza.

In the past Castorena’s son told us Hernandez was like a father to him.

Investigators say she moved back to Park Township in Ottawa County with her new husband in late November and say she had been in touch with Hernandez when she returned.

Both Castorena and Alfredo de la Garza were denied bond Wednesday and are being held in the Ottawa County jail.

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