2 women arrested in connection with brutal San Juan slaying

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There are now five people in custody in connection with the brutal slaying of a man who was found buried within a barrel in Edinburg, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

Monica Victoria Gomez
Jennifer Jane Snider

Investigators have arrested Monica Victoria Gomez, 41 of San Juan, and Jennifer Jane Snider, 29 of McAllen, for their involvement in the May 7 murder of Juan Carlos Hernandez de Leon.

The two arrests are in addition to the apprehension of three others in the case, including Alejandro Cantu, 28 of Mercedes, Samuel Uvalle Sr., 47 of Mission, and Jesus Grijalva, 43 of San Juan.

Authorities are still searching for 35-year-old Roberto Salas, a Mission resident with an active arrest warrant for Hernandez’s murder.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts can call the sheriff’s office at (956) 383-8114, or to remain anonymous call the county’s Crime Stoppers hotline at (956) 668-8477 or submit an anonymous tip through the P3 TIPS app.

The sheriff’s office believes Hernandez’s body was moved and buried at 4610 E. Wisconsin Road in Edinburg after he was brutally beaten with a “hammer tool,” according to probable cause affidavits.

The murder occurred around 4 a.m. on May 7, after Uvalle Sr. began arguing with Hernandez at a residence located at 1913 Morningset Road in San Juan.

The argument erupted into a beating, according to authorities, in which Salas and Grijalva “joined Samuel Uvalle (Sr.)” in assaulting Hernandez, affidavits stated, further noting that Grijalva used the hammer tool.

Cantu, according to a previous sheriff’s office news release, was witnessed picking up the excavator that was used to bury the barrel that contained Hernandez’s body at the Wisconsin Road location in Edinburg.

According to Friday’s news release, sheriff’s investigators say they “developed information” indicating that Gomez also participated in Hernandez’s assault and that she and Snider helped dispose of Hernandez’s cellphone after his death.

Gomez is being held on $4 million in bonds on charges of first-degree murder and third-degree tampering with physical evidence with intent to impair.

Snider, who is being held on the same tampering charge as Gomez, is facing a $1 million bond.

Uvalle Sr. and Grijalva are also facing murder charges while Cantu has been charged with tampering with a human corpse.

Uvalle Sr.’s son, Samuel Uvalle Jr. was also arrested at the San Juan residence on federal human smuggling charges due to the property operating as a stash house, authorities said in affidavits, which added that some of the people held there “heard someone being beaten.”