Body Identified As Missing Man, Death Being Treated As A Homicide

Esdras Hernandez-Cruz

HARNETT COUNTY – Remains recovered by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office last month have been positively identified as that of a missing 20 year-old man. His death is now being treated as a homicide.

On February 8, 2022, Isaura Hernandez reported her 20 year-old son, Esdras Hernandez-Cruz missing. Esdras was last seen on February 4 around 11:00pm at his home near Lillington, she reported.

On February 14, 2022, his mother contacted Sanford Police and filed a second missing person report stating she last saw her son February 4 around 10:00pm at a car wash on E. Main Street in Sanford.

On March 3, a tip was received by Harnett County deputies indicated unknown juveniles were talking about finding a body near a pond or a lake in the Mimms Road and Rattle Lane area. Investigators searched the area described in the anonymous tip but did not locate the body.

On March 13, detectives located the remains of a male but could not identify the person due to the advanced stage of decomposition. The body was sent to the NC Medical Examiner’s Office for identification.

On April 5th, the medical examiner confirmed the remains were that of Esdras Hernandez-Cruz. It was also discovered during the autopsy that he died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Today, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office announced the findings and also said they are working in conjunction with the Sanford Police Department in the homicide investigation. Anyone who has any information that could help authorities identify the person or persons responsible is asked to call the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 910-893-0300 or the Sanford Crime Line at 919-775-8346. Callers may remain anonymous.