Cop had murder suspects in custody -- then let them go

Greenwich police officer made traffic stop on murder suspects, one of whom had blood on his arm, before allowing them to drive away in stolen car.
Scott Seitz2
Jun 27, 2013

A pair of men wanted for questioning in the murder of a Baseline Road man were reportedly last seen in Greenwich, possibly moments after they allegedly killed 24-year-old Daniel Jacinto Hernandez.

Greenwich Police Officer Aaron Smith stopped Misael Lopez and Hiram Emmanuel Lopez, who are brothers, for speeding on Main Street in the village at about 12:30 a.m. June 1, according to information and phone and radio calls obtained from the Huron County Sheriff's Office through a public records request.

The Lopez brothers are the suspects in the stabbing death of Hernandez, whose body was found June 2 in the Baseline Road apartment he shared with the Lopez brothers. Investigators have stated they believe Hernandez may have been dead for two days before being found by a farm field boss.

According to reports, one of the Lopez brothers' arms was covered in blood at the traffic stop, while the other brother was trying to conceal himself between the passenger seat and door of the 2004 Dodge Stratus they were driving with Virginia plates, which belonged to Hernandez, the murder victim.

Deputies learned of the Greenwich traffic stop when detectives ran a Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS) search for any agency nationwide which might have stopped the vehicle, and the Greenwich incident popped up.

"Greenwich police had stopped that car and ran that plate," Detective Sgt. Josh Querin said Thursday.

Sheriff Dane Howard said no one from Greenwich police contacted the HCSO about the traffic stop.

"This whole thing is quite bizarre," Howard said.

Greenwich Chief Steve Dorsey and Smith are both out of the office until Monday and could not be reached for comment.

"The driver advised he had just gotten off work at Wiers Farm," Querin said. "The officer did not ID the two individuals."

Reports stated the officer did not run a driver's license check on either of the Lopezes.

One of Smith's calls from the scene to the HCSO dispatch requested deputy backup. Later in the call, Smith called off the backup, saying deputies were not needed.

Deputy Shannon Lyons and Sgt. Chuck Summers were just a short distance away before being called off.

According to a Greenwich police report, the vehicle was stopped for speeding.

"They didn't stop right away, which is a red flag," Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said.

Patrick said he didn't want to second-guess the work of Smith, but did talk about normal protocol at a traffic stop.

"You ask for positive ID and proof of insurance," he said. "Then, you look for indicators like if you smell alcohol and see alcohol."

There was an excessive amount of beer and liquor observed at the Baseline Road crime scene, the sheriff said.

"First, the vehicle had Virginia plates and second, the two were acting very suspiciously," Patrick said.

"And, there was no hurry, because you had already called for help," he added.

Patrick said reports show the officer told the Lopez brothers if they could produce an ID, he'd let them go.

At one point, as noted in the radio call, Smith had one of the Lopezes in custody in the back of the cruiser.

Upon hearing this, the sheriff had the Greenwich police cruiser towed to the sheriff's office nearly two weeks after the incident, something he said he can't recall happening in his 29 years of law enforcement.

The cruiser was searched for evidence, such as the victim's blood, by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"There was some evidence collected and sent to the lab and we are awaiting results," Howard said.

If the victim's blood is found, murder warrants can be issued for the Lopez brothers. Currently, they are wanted on a warrant for theft of a motor vehicle.

So, overall, maybe some good can come from this event, the sheriff said.

"We sure hope so," Howard said.

Comments

bikerwife

WTH was he thinking when he called off the back up?..After midnight,speeding, out of state plates, blood on his arm,&,one of them trying to hide from the officer..What more did this officer need?..Should they held up a sign that said,"Hey we just killed someone"?..HCSO should have went any way, they were close by..GPD shouldn't have hid this from the HCSO when the murder came out..Respect for your fellow law enforcement officers is a great thing to have in situations like this..Not so sure I would trust them to have my back after this crap..These 2 Illegal Murderers should already be in jail instead of free on the streets to possibly do it again..Nice job GPD..You have won the "Dumbest Cop Award"..Congrats!!!!!!

VerbalKint

Don't know but he may have called off the backup because backup did not or was slow to respond? Could be one of many reasons. Can't blame the Greenwich PD for these two being loose, there was no KNOWN crime committed at the time of the stop. From what I can gather, it was a traffic/speed stop. I think the S.O. is laying ground for others to take some of the blame if and when they fail to arrest these two.

alwaysatfault

LMFAO!!! This doesn't surprise me at all, the only way this dude isn't afraid to make an arrest is on a young "kid" then he plays hard balls, wow serious had he done his job right AGAIN, ask for ID and ran a license check and looked further into the blood these killers may already be in jail, maybe they paid him with celery lmao, or maybe he let them listen to his taped stops and they all set and laughed together , either way this is just the typical for this officer...

truthbetold77

OK your a police officer and you observed blood all over one of the occupants arms.. how couldn't you investigate that?? along with speeding after midnight and not stopping right away.. not to mention the passenger was trying to hide.. come on now!! what law enforcement officer wouldn't investigate that??? oh wait.. aaron smith from Greenwich p.d. wow!! and he let them go without running a check!! How can anyone condone this or make excuses up for this?? there is no excuse! Fire him chief Dorsey! These are 2 men who butchered someone.. how does it feel to set them free officer smith?

NLRob

On the night of June 1st I was ticketed for disorderly conduct, hand cuffed for an hour. Meanwhile 2 illegal immigrants, aka murderers, were let free after being hand cuffed, im totally amazed how incompetent some people are. All I said was f*ck you during an argument with a room mate. The charges were dropped, but it's still a sad day when a legal citizen, tax paying, father, non murdering resident gets ticketed and the drug smuggling murderers get to go free. This proves Huron County is full of dirty cops. The heroin comes from the illegals in the Willard area. The cops are too busy getting paid off to do their jobs.

hankster

While I agree with most of your post Rob,I promise you that heroin doesn't come from illegals.Ask any officer,read any paper and the heroin problem is 95% white trash.Both dealing and abuse.

NLRob

They bring large quantities in from Mexico, drive through Willard, look at the migrant workers making $8 an hour driving $40,000 suv's. Where do they get them from. The people buying and distributing the heroin are mostly whites. A friend of mine got heroin from a guy on Grant St in New London which is right around the corner from Sheriff Howard's house. Also there's a trailer right across the street from a former HCSD employee on New London Ave that used to supply heroin too. But the cops are so busy, my @ss, they are DIRTY!!!!!

WASP71

Why was a friend of yours getting heroin? Junky or just to say he could? Seems you know where alot of heroin is bought and sold. I couldn't tell you. Maybe you should work with the cops to help get it off the streets. Just saying you could do a couple controlled buys. You obviously know where to buy. Seems you are in a little deeper in the **** than you want to tell us.

NLRob

Attn:wasp71 I can tell you take offense to the truth just like every other liar. That being said I did report it to the police but their hands are tied, blah blah blah. That's their story. I don't buy or use heroin, I know people who have as most of Huron County does. Enjoy your trip down "denial" the truth is the truth and the facts are the facts.

WASP71

Attn:NLRob What exactly am I taking offense to? And exacly why did you say I was a liar? And what exactly am I in denial about? You need to take a chill pill or is that why you went off the deep end, you took the wrong pill? I personally don't know a heroin heads like your friends. It's a shame that you hang around low-life trash, but I'm sure you fit right in the gang. So you have fun with your vast heroin knowledge. I'm sure you will enjoy yourself. Don't forget your "kit". Sounds like you may be jonesing a little. Your a waste of my time. Pathetic trash.

cisneros04

First you they drive it in from Mexico then you say it mostly whites that distibute heroin? Who will it be next??

NLRob

When I was finally released after over an hour, there were 2 Greenwich officers and 1 deputy standing by their cruisers not doing anything. So they were not busy. They just don't do anything. I have the ticket and police report to prove it.

44846GWP

Good job Officer Fife!

Gone Fishing

Verbalknit really? The two were in the country illegally so there's no way they could have provided a valid drivers license so how the hell wasn't the driver taken in for driving with out a license not to mention the other 100 red flags that were in front of his face this officer has aways been a joke and always will be maybe this will be enough to chase this sorry excuse of a cop out of town!

tadpole

Good job at flaming Smith, NR! Bastids!

cisneros04

This is sad! It should not matter what their race is. They should be behind bars but they are not due to someone not doing their job!

Yall Make Me Sick

It's very SICK & SAD at the same time. O my they make fun of Huron county cops on here all the time.... But letting 2 murders go in Virginia plates, speeding, blood on the arm, I'm sure the were also smelling of alcohol! Winner winner chicken dinner! Great job Greenwich pd!!!!!

OneLocalVoice

The BIG question to be answered is "Why didn't the Mayberry Sheriff's Department contact the Sheriff's Department in Mt. Pilot about the stop after the murder was discovered. It's obvious that either Sarah was not at her telephone operator post that day to make the connection for them, or that they were unable to do so since the town's only long-distance telephone line was busy due to two the old ladies who talk to each other every Sunday without fail thus preventing others from using the telephone.

Now The Rest of...

The officer had no way of knowing the night he stopped them, the murder had not been discovered. My questions; why didn't he attempt to obtain their license/identity, check for vehicle ownership and at least do an investigation why the one brother had blood on him? Since the time of murder was discovered and anyone was looking for two hispanics, why didn't Greenwich PD contract the sheriff's department and tell them about the traffic stop, why did the sheriff's department only find out about it when they ran the checks with the state database?

I_wonder

Who dispatches for Greenwich? Isn't it Huron County SO? Your answer to the negative comments lie in the answer.

I_wonder

Who dispatches for Greenwich? Isn't it Huron County SO? Your answer to the negative comments lie in the answer.

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