Detectives on Thursday released surveillance footage showing a man running from the place where Ernie Hernandez Jr. was stabbed and killed Saturday, behind Sisk Road businesses in north Modesto.
A second man is seen running in the video, but his involvement has not been determined, said Sgt. Rick Armendariz, a Modesto police spokesman.
Hernandez, 37, of Modesto was found about 7:30 p.m. Saturday in a parking lot behind the Rogers Jewelry Co. store in the 3600 block of Sisk.
Detectives believe Hernandez was stabbed behind the Babies R Us on Sisk. He then fled to the parking lot, about 100 yards north. Two people spotted his body in the parking lot and called authorities.
Detectives released the video hoping someone would recognize the man seen running through an apartment complex. The video came from a camera focused on an entrance to the complex on Sullivan Court.
The man is seen jumping a closed gate into the complex before running out of the camera's view.
Police described the man as white or Latino, in his early to mid-20s, wearing a black tank top and black knee-length shorts with white stripes on the sides. He had short black hair and a large tattoo on his left arm.
Armendariz said police have canvassed the neighborhood, but it was unclear to detectives if the man lived at the complex or was using it as an escape route.
A second man is seen in the background running northeast on Sullivan. Detectives had not determined if he was involved in the attack.
Armendariz said homicide detectives have been piecing together this "challenging" murder investigation. The probe has yielded few clues.
Hernandez lived in a Modesto group home near where he was stabbed. Police said his Saturday routine was to walk to Vintage Faire Mall, pass time with friends and then walk home.
Armendariz said detectives were looking into whether Hernandez was robbed during the assault, but they had not determined what items he had at the time.
Hernandez worked for the California Department of Transportation for about eight years, cleaning bathrooms and picking up trash and debris. The Howard Training Center, which helps the developmentally disabled, had placed him in the job.
The center has scheduled a memorial service today at 2:30 p.m. for Hernandez, a longtime client. The service is open to the public. The center's address is 1424 Stonum Road in Ceres.
Police ask anyone with information about the men seen in the video or the stabbing to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.