Suspect in custody after DNA identifies human remains found buried in shallow grave 18 years ago

cold case
Source: Mono County Office of the District Attorney; MEGA

Aug. 18 2021, Published 4:09 p.m. ET

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DNA has helped investigators determine the identity of a woman found buried in a shallow grave in California almost 20 years ago and take into custody a suspect allegedly tied to her murder.

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According to the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, human remains were discovered near Shady Rest Park in May 2003. At the time, detectives could only determine the victim was an adult female between 30 and 40 years old with Native American ancestry from southern Mexico.

“Recently, with the advancements of DNA technology, investigators were able to identify those human remains to be that of a person positively identified as 30-year-old Isabel Sanchez Bernal, from Puebla, Mexico,” police said. “Since the remains were identified, investigators have been working to solve the murder of Isabel.”

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Authorities announced they took 47-year-old Diego Santiago Hernandez-Antonia of Mammoth Lakes into custody on Aug. 13. He was booked into the Mono County Sheriff’s Jail and is being held on a no-bail arrest warrant for homicide.

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Police did not release information on how the suspect may be connected to the cold-case crime.

The Mono County District Attorney’s Office is currently requesting the public’s help for more information about the victim, Isabel Sanchez Bernal. Anyone who knew Bernal or has information relevant to this case is asked to contact either Chief DA Investigator Chris Callinan at (760) 858-2127 or district attorney Investigator John Estridge at (760) 546-5129.

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