WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Police: Missing woman’s death ruled accidental

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Two weeks ago, 21-year-old Jocelyn Hernandez’s body was discovered a day after she was reported missing following a single-vehicle crash on Raleigh Road Parkway at Interstate 95.

Police now say they are investigating the circumstances as two separate incidents.

“We are investigating this as a single-vehicle accident and then a hit-and-run accident of a pedestrian at this point,” said Wilson Police Sgt. Steve Stroud.

Stroud said unfortunately, investigators do not have any witnesses or a suspect vehicle description in the hit and run. No witnesses have come forward from either wreck.

Hernandez’s preliminary autopsy indicates the injuries she sustained were consistent with being struck by a vehicle, according to police. Her death has been ruled accidental, officials said.

Her body was found shortly before 10 a.m. on June 28 on the northbound side of I-95 north of the crash scene and outside the road — about 500 feet away from the original wreck scene, police said.

Police said at the time of her disappearance, Hernandez may have had intentions of harming herself.

SINGLE-VEHICLE CRASH

A police report indicates the single-vehicle crash happened at 3:18 a.m. on June 27. A Wilson County sheriff’s deputy spotted Hernandez’s black 2008 Nissan Sentra about five hours later at 8:15 a.m., according to police.

Hernandez was nowhere to be found at the time, police said, and her belongings were left inside the car.

A widespread search for Hernandez ensued. Police used multiple departments and teams along with a drone in hopes of finding her. They searched not only the crash site, but surrounding areas and inside the city as well.

Hernandez was driving southwest on Raleigh Road Parkway when she ran off the road to the right at the end of the bridge, according to a police wreck report. Her vehicle struck a tree on the embankment, the report states. After that, she struck another tree and the car came to a complete stop. Police estimated her speed at the time of the crash was 65 mph, according the report. The speed limit in the area is 45 mph.

THE DISCOVERY

Hernandez’s family members and friends met that following morning on June 28 in an effort to spread out and search the area. That’s when her brother, Jesus Hernandez, found something on the opposite side of the road and immediately called police.

Officials blocked the area off. I-95 northbound was shut down for several hours as a result.

Police say anyone who has information regarding the incidents or witnessed either crash should contact investigators by calling the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.

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