Police Look for Witnesses in Suspicious Death Investigation

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, August 5 2013 at 6:07 PM, Updated: Mon, August 5 2013 at 6:43 PM

A 37-year-old man was found with a gunshot to the head on the 800-block of Fruitdale Drive in Grants Pass. Police said the call came in at 2:13 Saturday morning.                                

On Monday police said they were looking for witnesses and wanted to speak with one man in particular who they believe was with 37-year-old Juan Hernandez around the time of his death.

"At this point we're still looking for witnesses," began Lieutenant Jim Hamilton with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

"Specifically any witnesses that may have seen him at Herb's it was either at Shenanigans or the Vault...They were seen together at the bar," he continued.

The owner of Herb's said she was unable to determine with her staff that Hernandez was even there. She said if he was, he came in for only a short period of time before leaving again.

Hernandez's body was found down the street behind the Bike Kraft store. 

A woman living near the scene did not want to go on camera but said she heard it all.

"I just heard a couple of gunshots," said the nearby resident.

"They were loud and quick."

Then she said she heard sirens blaring.

"I thought maybe it's just a deer being shot. I didn't assume that somebody would kill anyone," said the woman.

At this point, authorities are calling the incident a "suspicious" death.

"Right now what we're doing is following up on leads, we're looking for video," said Lt. Hamilton.

Police are looking for any video from nearby businesses.

Over at Bike Kraft, just across the street from where Hernandez's body was found, the owner said he had already handed over his surveillance footage to police. He described what was on the video...

"Somebody running by the window and the light like he was high tailing it," said Richard Amneus, owner of Bike Kraft.

He said the images were captured about 10-minutes after police say the death occurred.                             

Meantime, authorities are still looking for tips.

"Anybody who was driving along Fruitdale Drive around that time, or seen people walking along even a little bit helps," said Lt. Hamilton.

So far, according to police, there are no persons of interest and no motive yet. Because it's still early in the investigation, police said they won't be ruling anything out. 

Authorities said Hernandez was last seen wearing a navy blue t-shirt and jeans.

If anyone passing by saw him walking along Fruitdale Drive around two o'clock Saturday morning or have any other information, call Grants Pass Police at 541-450-6260.

An autopsy was scheduled for either Monday or Tuesday.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

Connect with Christine

Leave a Comment:

Note: Comments with profanity are automatically filtered and hidden. Verbal attacks towards others via our comments section will not be tolerated.