San Diego

Family Pleads for Continued Investigation After Woman Found Buried Outside Tijuana Home

Fernanda Gonzalez was found buried in the backyard of her Tijuana home in February

The family of a woman found buried in the backyard of her Tijuana home is pleading to Mexican authorities to continue their investigation.

Fernanda Gonzalez, 32, was first reported missing in February by her sister Erika Gonzalez, who is from San Diego's South Bay. Erika Gonzalez said she knew something was wrong when she could not get in contact with her sister.

"We were calling her phone, and she didn't answer,” Erika Gonzalez said.

She said she lost contact with her sister on Feb. 3 and reported the disappearance two days later.

After three weeks of no leads from investigators, Erika Gonzalez took to social media to offer a reward for information leading to her discovery.

Tips started coming in indicating Fernanda Gonzalez was dead and that she was buried in the backyard of her Tijuana home. Some of the tips even suggested who killed her.

NBC 7's Dave Summers has the exclusive story.

The police did not search the property right away, so the family conducted a search of their own and found Fernanda Gonzalez's body buried right where tipsters said to look.

Authorities confirmed she died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Aaron Juarez, 20, was identified as the suspect in the investigation, according to the Attorney General of the State of Baja California. Juarez was the stepson of the victim.

Juarez was arrested in April on unrelated charges to his stepmom’s death. He accepted a two-year state prison term in the U.S. He was on probation for unlawful possession of a firearm when he was arrested on a possession of heroin charge. That probation was revoked.

Thereafter, the family attorney, Jesus Rodolfo Cruz, said the investigation stopped.

“We requested a hearing to advise that the District Attorney’s Office in Mexico has been negligent in their part. Because they were not objective in their investigation,” said Cruz.

“The District Attorney’s Office stopped their investigation, and we continued. In our investigation, we found that more people were involved, not just in the murder, but in obstruction of justice,” said Cruz.

Cruz claimed that a family member of Juarez was a member of the Attorney General’s Office and that was what allegedly caused the investigation to stop.

Erika Gonzalez and Cruz said they have more faith in the new governor of Baja California, Mexico, Jamie Bonilla Valdez, who promised to end corruption.

“We strongly believe there will be no corruption,” said Cruz.

The judge gave a four-month extension to the investigation.

“At the end of those four months, the District Attorney’s Office has to file new criminal charges to different people,” said Cruz.

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