State

Man arrested on suspicion of harboring Modesto stabbing suspect

The brother-in-law of a man suspected of killing a 37-year-old developmentally disabled Modestan has been arrested in connection with the homicide, authorities said.

Valentin Ojeda, an 18-year-old Tracy resident, was charged with accessory to murder. He was arrested last week and is being held at Stanislaus County Jail. His bail was set at $1 million.

Samuel Esquibel is wanted in the Aug. 14 stabbing death of Ernie Hernandez Jr. Hernandez was found suffering from stab wounds in the parking lot of Humphreys College at 3600 Sisk Road in Modesto.

Ojeda is accused of helping Esquibel hide out in Tracy and possibly other areas outside Modesto after Esquibel had been identified as a suspect, according to Sgt. Rick Armendariz of the Modesto Police Department.

A documented Norteño gang member, Esquibel remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous.

Modesto police believe Hernandez was walking home from the mall on the evening of Aug. 14, when he was attacked behind the Sisk Road Babies R Us, then made his way to the nearby parking lot, where he collapsed.

He was about a half-mile from home.

Motorists spotted Hernandez about 7:23 p.m. and called authorities. He was pronounced dead at 8:07 p.m. at Doctors Medical Center. He had been stabbed multiple times in the head, chest and abdomen, according to his death certificate.

Armendariz said police still are trying to determine the identity of the second man in the video and his role, if any, in the slaying, but a $1 million arrest warrant has been issued for Esquibel.

Ojeda was not the second man in the video, Armendariz said Monday.

Police ask anyone with information regarding this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. All calls will remain anonymous. Callers may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters also can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Type “TIP704” and a message.

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