BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The man accused of killing his girlfriend and abducting their 6-year-old daughter early Friday, leading to a multi-state Amber Alert, had been deported to his native El Salvador in 2013 after an assault conviction, federal authorities said.
It is unclear how or when 39-year-old Oscar Hernandez returned to the country. He was deported after being convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend in Stamford, authorities said.
Aylin Sofia Hernandez, 6, was found safe just before midday Friday in State College, Pa., but suffered minor injuries in a crash after the police chase in which Oscar Hernandez was apprehended, police said.
She had been abducted at about 2:45 a.m. Friday from her Bridgeport home after Hernandez stabbed her mother, 26-year-old Nidia Gonzalez, to death in their Bridgeport home, police said. Gonzalez also suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital to be treated along with his daughter, police said.
"Oscar Obedio Hernandez, a citizen of El Salvador, was issued a Final Order of Removal by an immigration judge on Oct. 29, 2013," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement. "He was removed from the United States by ICE officers in Hartford, CT, on Nov. 27, 2013. He has prior felony convictions from 2002 for assault and threatening, as well as several misdemeanor convictions. ICE has placed an immigration detainer with the Bridgeport (Connecticut) Police Department."
The detainer means Hernandez will again be deported by ICE after criminal charges are resolved in the U.S.
Hernandez was held as a fugitive from justice, and Bridgeport Police said they will be seeking his extradition on a murder charge, Capt. Brian Fitzgerald said at a press conference Friday afternoon outside of Mayor Joseph Ganim’s office.
Police responded to the home at 69 Greenwood Road at 2:45 a.m. following a 911 call by the landlord, Fitzgerald said. They found Nidia Gonzalez dead from stab wounds and a second woman in critical condition, also with stab wounds. That woman, whom Fitzgerald didn’t identify, was in critical but stable condition in St. Vincent's Medical Center. Nidia Gonzalez, Oscar Hernandez and the girl lived together in the home in a basement apartment.
Police discovered quickly that the 6-year-old girl was missing and determined that the father was a suspect. They quickly alerted fellow police agencies and launched the Amber Alert, which was pinged on cellphones and posted on highway signs.
Police Chief Armando Perez thanked the police agencies that quickly acted and offered their support.
“They all stepped up to the plate and delivered. They delivered this girl home,” he said.
He also expressed concern for the girl, who lost her mother and whose father is a murder suspect.
“Her life has changed forever, and for us in public safety that’s our mission, that is paramount, we wanted to bring that little girl home. She lost her mom and now she lost her father,” Perez said.
An emotional Perez pledged the department’s help for the girl. “Hopefully this community will embrace her. We at the Bridgeport Police Department … we will embrace her and do whatever is needed to take care of her.”
The faculty and staff at St. Raphael Academy in Bridgeport, where Aylin is a first-grader, are relieved the 6-year-old was found safe but devastated by the murder of her mother, said Bridgeport Diocese spokesman Brian Wallace.
The students at St. Raphael Academy — a pre-K through third grade building — are very young and many are unaware of what happened, Wallace said.
The diocese deployed its Safe Environment Team to help students deal with the trauma Friday, and Catholic Charities also sent counselors. Those teams will return Monday, "when it starts to sink in what happened," Wallace said.
"An email letter has been sent to all parents to assure them that this tragedy is a result of a domestic situation and does not pose any safety threats to the children or staff," a statement from the diocese said.
Wallace also said the school community would be looking to help Aylin and her family.
"We ask prayers for the student and her family as we continue to work with them in the coming days," the diocese said.