A man and two women are scheduled to appear in a Bisbee courtroom next Tuesday in connection with allegedly buying a newborn via cellphone and social media.
Marina Garcia, 31, of Sierra Vista, along with Alex Hernandez and Leslie Morin Hernandez, both of Kenedy, Texas, are scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Division Five Courtroom of Cochise County Superior Court Judge James L. Conlogue.
The Hernandezes will be arraigned via video, while “Garcia still has to be picked up on the warrant,” Cochise County Deputy Attorney Lori A. Zucco said Monday morning.
According to court documents, at about 10:15 a.m. Feb. 5, an officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety made a traffic stop at milepost 351 on eastbound I-10, on a tan sport utility vehicle that he estimated had been traveling at 90 miles per hour.
The driver was Alex Hernandez, 33, and the passenger was 41-year-old Leslie Hernandez, both of Texas. Upon further investigation, the officer learned that neither of the Hernandezes were “the biological parents to the infant” in the vehicle, an infant who was born Feb. 2, according to court documents.
During interviews conducted in Willcox by both DPS and Willcox officers, the couple admitted that Alex Hernandez had signed the baby’s birth certificate as the father. The couple said that though Alex Hernandez was not the father, they had “conspired with the birth mother (Garcia) to forge the signature as the father to take possession of the infant child.”
Leslie Hernandez said she had used her cellphone to communicate with Garcia via text, phone call and Facebook Messenger. Cellphones used by both Garcia and the Hernadezes were seized as evidence in the case.
After the Willcox interviews, both the DPS and Willcox officers traveled to Sierra Vista to interview Garcia, where she admitted to conspiring with the Hernandezes. Garcia told officers she had planned to travel to Texas at a later date to sign over her rights to the child, the court documents said.
Garcia said she did not know who the baby’s father is and claimed to have no intimate relations with her current husband, who is in the military and stationed elsewhere.
Via phone call, Garcia’s husband told the Willcox Police officer that while he knew about the pregnancy, a family member had informed him the baby had died during birth in January.
The husband said the last time he was intimate with Garcia was prior to leaving in May of 2017. Messages between Garcia and her husband that the officers saw on her phone indicated that the husband believed he was the father of her child.
On Feb. 8, a Cochise County grand jury handed down a five-count indictment against Garcia and Alex Hernandez. A warrant was issued that day for Garcia’s arrest. The two were charged with one count each of kidnapping; forgery; fraudulent schemes and artifices; fraudulent schemes and practices; and conspiracy.
Leslie Hernandez received a four-count indictment, minus the forgery charge that Garcia and Alex Hernandez had received.
Because the traffic offense first occurred at milepost 350, it fell under the jurisdiction of the Justice of the Peace Court No. 4 in Willcox. Both Alex Hernandez and Leslie Hernandez had their initial appearance before Judge Trevor Ward. They were each held on a $100,000 appearance bond.