Police arrest boyfriend in death of 21-year-old NLR mother, city's 13th homicide


Police have arrested Stephanie Hernandez's boyfriend and charged him with killing the 21-year-old North Little Rock mother.

20-year-old Rafael Gonzalez was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Eastern Arkansas Fugitive Task Force, along with the Little Rock PD Violent Criminal Apprehensive Team and North Little Rock PD detectives.

He is being held without bond, and his initial appearance is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in North Little Rock District Court.


North Little Rock police are investigating the murder of 21-year-old mother Stephanie Hernandez, who was found shot to death in her home Sunday. Hernandez's death marks the city's 13th homicide of 2015.

Police are still working to get more information in regards to Hernandez's death.

Family and friends, like Jaquinlan Davis, told Channel 7 News Hernandez's home was ransacked.

"The place is ransacked. There is blood all over the floor. It's clothes everywhere. Like someone wanted to just pack up and get out," Davis said. "I really can't believe it is true! I was just here with her yesterday! I hadn't seen her in about 2 months. At least 2 months."

Hernandez was the mother of two little girls, a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old.

Her loved ones, like her sister Camryn Startz, said the hardest part is explaining to two little girls that their mom is gone.

"My nieces have been crying all night. It's just real hard," Startz said. "I haven't told my 3-year-old niece anything yet. She knows something is wrong because she wants her mom."

North Little Rock PD responded to Hernandez's home on West Long 17th St. about 8:30 p.m. Sunday night.

According to friends and family, Hernandez only lived in the apartment for three weeks.

Davis and Startz told Channel 7 that loved ones are suspicious of Hernandez's boyfriend, who also lived in the home.

"I knew his history and everything, and I knew he was a bad influence. I wanted to tell her. I wanted her to come with me actually when I left," Davis said.

"Her and this dude, Rafael, were back off and on, then she just all of a sudden, her and my brother were talking. Talking about getting back together. Then this morning, this happened," Startz said.

Davis said he saw Hernandez make a peculiar purchase for her boyfriend the same day she was killed.

"She bought him a pack of four or five bullet shells, and just by that, I didn't feel right," Davis said.

Startz told Channel 7 that Hernandez's family just wants justice.

"She didn't do nobody wrong! She didn't do anything," Startz said.

Police say they are investigating this homicide as a domestic incident.

If you have any information, you can call the detective directly at (501) 680-8439.

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