Accused Murderer From North Dakota Hid Out In Gillette For Months  

A North Dakota man accused of killing a woman, deleting his home camera footage and fleeing last year was arrested Thursday in Gillette. Police believe he hid in Gillette for months before being discovered.

Clair McFarland

April 22, 20244 min read

Gillette police 5 31 23
(Gillette Police Department via Facebook)

A North Dakota man accused of killing a woman, deleting his home camera footage and fleeing last year was arrested Thursday in Gillette, Wyoming, court documents say.

Public filings also indicate that Hugo Hernandez Jr., 31, hid out in the northeast Wyoming city for months before he was caught.

He was cited for driving without a license Jan. 2, according to a Gillette Circuit Court filing bearing the same name, age, description and cellphone number as those attached to Hernandez’s murder warrant. He appeared to have stayed out of trouble during the intervening three months. No additional charges or citations were filed prior to his murder warrant being filed Friday in Gillette Circuit Court.  

First, The Gunshot

McKenzie County, North Dakota, authorities wanted Hernandez for arrest based on evidence that he allegedly shot and killed a woman in his home March 22, 2023, according to the warrant affidavit.  

Authorities responded to Hernandez’s North Dakota address that night at about 11:42 p.m. on reports that Hernandez had sustained a superficial gunshot wound to his hand while a woman, identified anonymously in court documents as “Jane Doe,” had sustained an abdominal gunshot wound and was going into shock, the affidavit says.

Hernandez, the woman and another man were drinking alcohol together that night in Hernandez’s second-floor apartment, the other man told police.

When police arrived, they couldn’t find the semiautomatic handgun at first, as Hernandez allegedly hid it behind other long guns leaning against his wall, and only revealed where it was after police urged him.

Footage Gone

He also reportedly had a surveillance camera rolling in his home, but told police the WiFi was down during the incident and he couldn’t access that footage. Investigators found this unusual, since the camera was working properly for weeks before the shooting, the affidavit says.

The document alleges that Hernandez told the other man with whom he’d been drinking to wait outside for the ambulance, and while he was alone inside with the dying woman, Hernandez stopped giving her life-saving aid and started altering evidence instead.

‘Heartless Handling’

First responders arrived and started giving life-saving aid to the woman. They found a .40-caliber bullet casing in the hood of her sweatshirt, the affidavit says.

Hernandez reportedly tried to see “Jane Doe” while she was at the hospital, under a fake name, but it was not widely known at that time that she had already died.

Police extracted data from Hernandez’s phone and noted that his communications “appeared to stop” the night of the March 21 onward. Schatz wrote that it seemed Hernandez had deleted data from his phone.

Schatz noted messages that he believed to be about methamphetamine, including Hernandez asking someone for “G” and “ball.”

“Communications indicated Hugo Hernandez Jr. was supplying Jane Doe with illegal narcotics,” says the document.

Schatz theorized that Hernandez had dismantled a firearm on the table in front of him, in his apartment that night, then reassembled and loaded it, put it in a battery, pointed it and fired it into the woman’s abdomen.

Hernandez told law enforcement the shooting was an accident.

Schatz was skeptical. He said Hernandez’s unwillingness to cooperate, alleged obstruction of evidence and his “heartless handling of Jane Doe while she lay dying on his kitchen floor … lends to the belief that may be a fallacy.”

Because the gunshot happened in the city limits of Watford City, North Dakota, Hernandez’s murder warrant lists a charge of unlawfully firing a gun in city limits in addition to negligent homicide.

Not Going To Fight This

Hernandez signed a waiver of extradition Friday, which means he admits to being the same man whom North Dakota authorities want to arrest. He will not fight the claim that he “probably committed said crime,” says the waiver.

He could have protested by saying he is not the same man as the Hugo Hernandez now wanted for homicide, and the prosecutor would have had to obtain a governor’s warrant for his arrest.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter