Tulare County DA's Office launches website on cold cases

The DA's office is hopeful more hurting families will get answers.

Elisa Navarro Image
Friday, July 29, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

To find answers, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office has launched a cold case website this month.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Law enforcement agencies in the South Valley have piles of cold cases they continue to work on as much as possible.

To find answers, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office started a new unit in 2019 and launched a cold case website this month.

Lindy Gligorijevic, Chief Investigator for the Tulare County District Attorney's Office, says in 2019, the Cold Case Unit was formed at the DA's office to find answers to several unresolved cases across the county.

This month, the DA's office launched a Cold Case Website to involve the community.

The website currently highlights 13 cases, some with pictures, others with a blank box, hoping someone who comes across the page will help fill it in.

"If there are people in the community who have information or photos or know something, it will be helpful as well," says Gligorijevic.

In July, the unit solved its first case - the 2008 death of 21-year-old Hernan Diaz from Tulare.

Investigators say Diaz was shot and killed through his bedroom window at home on Birch Street.

Fourteen years and a lot of work later, 34-year-old Luis Villarreal was charged with his murder.

Making the arrest was easy - Villarreal was already behind bars for another crime.

The DA's office says they were able to crack the case with help from Tulare police, who initially worked the case.

"It's a difficult time in law enforcement, we are stretched thin, and our goal is to be in support of local agencies."

Tulare Police Chief Fred Ynclan thanked the DA's office saying, "Through their efforts on this investigation, we were able to provide the victim's family with some closure."

Diaz's family told Action News, "Hernan was a sweet, caring person and did not deserve to be murdered." "We are glad that it wasn't given up on and that an arrest was finally made."

The DA's office is hopeful more hurting families will also get answers.

"Families who have suffered without knowing what happened, that's cruel on top of having lost your loved one."

Meanwhile, Villarreal is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on August 5th.