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Suspect charged in missing teen's murder

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

Clayton County police confirmed that they have the person they were seeking in the murder of missing Morrow teenager, Monica Ambriz. Her body had been found in a vacant Jonesboro office building.

At a press conference Thursday, Clayton police said that Stockbridge resident, Artemio Hernandez, confessed to the kidnapping and murder of 17-year-old Ambriz. They said they interviewed Hernandez, an unemployed mason, on Wednesday, while he was in the custody of the Dekalb County Sheriff's Office.

The Clayton County Police Department has charged Hernandez, who police said, uses the aliases of Gerardo Hernandez and Gerardo O. Hernandez, with murder, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and hijacking a motor vehicle.

Hernandez was arrested in Dekalb County, while he was allegedly in the process of committing an armed robbery at a Payless Shoe Store, in Chamblee.

"He was originally arrested by [the] Chamblee police department for additional charges," said Capt. Tina Daniel, Clayton County Police spokesperson.

"None of our departments knew he was in custody in Chamblee, until we located the Cadillac that we had been looking for, and that's what led to Mr. Hernandez," said Clayton County Police Capt. Richard Gandee.

Police said the suspect also confessed to several other crimes, including the murder of Forest Park resident, Maria Gloria Galvan De Rivera, 61, on Oct. 12. Forest Park Police Maj. Chris Matson said Rivera's death was extremely violent. "Her cause of death was a combination of blunt force trauma, strangulation and stabbing," he said.

In addition, Hernadez is accused of an armed robbery at the Paleteria La De Michoacan ice cream shop, in Forest Park, on Oct. 25.

According to Henry County Police Maj. Jason Bolton, Hernandez is also a suspect in armed robberies of two Stockbridge hair salons. Bolton said Hernandez allegedly sexually assaulted two women at one of the salons. The incidences took place back-to-back, on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. "They [police] conducted photographic lineups, and the victims in both cases were able to positively identify him," said Bolton.

Clayton County police would not release information, Thursday, on the cause of Ambriz's death. "Mr. Hernandez was seen earlier that day [the day Ambriz was kidnapped] scoping out the parking lot," said Clayton County Police Capt. Gandee.

He said that Ambriz was kidnapped while taking a break -- in her truck -- from her job at El Progresso #7, in Jonesboro, on Oct. 16. She was then taken to the vacant building, where she was raped, murdered, assaulted, and robbed.

According to Gandee, Hernandez was seen on surveillance cameras, in a 1994-to-1999 Cadillac Deville, in the parking lot at Ambriz's job, and the parking lot of El Banco Bank.

He added that Hernandez was driving the Cadillac, during the kidnapping of Ambriz, and at the time of a robbery of the El Banco Bank, in Jonesboro. The vehicle was located in Stockbridge, on Tuesday, said Gandee.

Police said that Ambriz's family is happy about the arrest of Hernandez.

Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter said that this case reiterated for him, the strength in collaborating with other law enforcement agencies in the region.