Missing Melanie Camacho found dead, suspect Jose Lopez Hernandez & his friend in custody

Melanie Camacho found dead after went missing. (Source: Facebook)
Melanie Camacho found dead after went missing. (Source: Facebook)

 

Regrettably, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the homicide of 19-year-old Melanie Stephanie Rios Camacho, who had been reported missing since last Friday.

Currently detained are two individuals, 23-year-old Vicente Alexandro Jasso and 22-year-old Jose Cornelio Lopez-Hernandez, both residents of Madera, implicated in connection with her tragic demise.

The community is grieving the loss, while authorities diligently pursue an investigation into this heartbreaking incident.

Melanie Camacho went missing: What happened?

The Madera County Sheriff’s Investigation Bureau is actively processing evidence in the ongoing case, and as a result, not all details are currently accessible to safeguard the integrity of their investigation.

Melanie Stephanie Rios Camacho was last observed leaving her workplace (Auto Zone on Gateway Dr. in Madera) around 10:15 pm on 11/24/23, as witnessed by a co-worker. Surveillance footage in the vicinity captured Melanie’s 2014 white Nissan Altima heading north on Gateway shortly before 10:30 pm.

At approximately 11:00 pm, Melanie sent a text to her mother, expressing her intention to meet with a friend post-work. Concern arose when she failed to return home the next morning, prompting her mother to report her missing at 6:45 am.

Notably, the tracking of Melanie’s phone had been disabled prior to her mother contacting authorities. Melanie did not attend her scheduled shift at Auto Zone that morning.

Detectives interviewed the friend she mentioned to her mother, who disclosed they never met after work. Instead, Melanie had planned to meet with an “ex” for an exchange of some kind.

Witness statements:

At approximately 8:45 am on Saturday (11/25), an witness noticed a vehicle partially ablaze near the vicinity of the intersection of Road 8 and Avenue 14, specifically around the 8000 block. Subsequent investigations by detectives confirmed the vehicle as Melanie’s 2014 white Nissan Altima.

Witnesses recounted spotting a blue Ford Mustang with a black hood in the proximity of where Melanie’s Nissan was found. Utilizing this information, detectives acquired video footage verifying the presence of a 2018 blue Ford Mustang, registered to 22-year-old Jose Cornelio Lopez-Hernandez from Madera, in the area around the time of the Nissan’s abandonment.

Lopez-Hernandez underwent questioning around 8 pm on 11/26/23, and a search warrant was executed at his residence in the 1300 block of Austin St in Madera. Details obtained during the warrant service directed detectives to an area on Avenue 20, west of Highway 99, where they uncovered human remains believed to be those of Melanie.

While awaiting official identification, law enforcement expresses confidence in the discovery of Melanie Camacho.

Suspects in Custody

In the early hours of this morning (11/27), investigators identified Vicente Alexandro Jasso, a 24-year-old resident of Madera, as the main suspect in Melanie’s death. Deputies observed a vehicle, registered to Jasso and driven by him, around 6:30 am.

A traffic stop ensued, leading to a pursuit that traversed Madera city, northbound on Highway 99 to Turlock, and then south on 99 to Atwater. At 7:50 am, the CHP successfully disabled Jasso’s vehicle, prompting him to flee on foot. After hiding in a nearby residential area, he was located by detectives and apprehended.

A photograph featuring the individuals suspected of the murder, with Vicente Jasso on the left and Jose Cornelio Lopez-Hernandez on the right. (Source: Madera County Sheriff's Office)
A photograph featuring the individuals suspected of the murder, with Vicente Jasso on the left and Jose Cornelio Lopez-Hernandez on the right. (Source: Madera County Sheriff’s Office)

 

Personal belongings of Melanie Camacho were discovered in the vicinity where Jasso fled. Both Jasso and Lopez-Hernandez are now held in Madera County Jail for their involvement in the murder of Melanie Camacho.

Community in Grief

The community is grappling with profound sorrow as they mourn the untimely and tragic loss of Melanie Rios Camacho. The impact of her passing resonates deeply, casting a somber atmosphere as friends, family, and community members come together to share their grief and support one another during this difficult time.

Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue states,

“I am extremely proud of the dedication and tireless work by our Investigation Bureau. They have worked non-stop since Friday to bring this case to a conclusion. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Madera Police Department, Madera County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol for their assistance.

To the family of Melanie, we are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially as we approach Melanie’s 20th birthday, which would have been this Saturday.”

The void left by Melanie’s absence is felt by all, and the collective mourning reflects the profound impact she had on those who knew her. As the community unites in solidarity, heartfelt condolences are extended to Melanie’s loved ones, and the enduring memory of her spirit is honored amid this shared sense of loss.

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