KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 10, 2019
By Jennifer Miko
Saturday afternoon, Marina Hernandez and her daughter Samantha, 24, were running errands in Katy. They left the J.C. Penney at Grand Parkway around 3:00 pm and traveled to their Brookshire/Katy neighborhood. Neither one realized they were being followed.
The Hernandezes live about 12 miles from J.C. Penney, on a cul de sac, in a neighborhood that is currently under construction. Frequently, cars pull into the subdivision to take pictures of lots or homes being built. So, Marina Hernandez and her daughter didn’t notice the black Nissan that followed them from J.C. Penney, and parked about 300 yards from their home.
A little while later, Marina Hernandez’s husband Joel Lopez left to run an errand and passed the same vehicle parked at the end of the cul de sac. When he returned, he noticed the car was still there, with a man, alone in the driver’s seat.
Samantha Hernandez had been home for about three hours when she and a friend left the house for a family party. But the girls needed to make a stop first. Marina Hernandez and Lopez were supposed to leave much later, however, they were ready early.
“The man in the car didn’t leave until I was backing out of my driveway,” Samantha Hernandez recalled. “Joel noticed the vehicle move when we were leaving.”
Lopez and Marina Hernandez got in their car and followed too.
“I’m really glad that Joel was suspicious,” Samantha Hernandez says. “I was just telling them the day before, that we’re in a new area that nothing’s going to happen. The fact that he followed us is the scary part.”
Samantha Hernandez and her friend turned off of Pin Oak into the HEB at Main Street shopping center and went inside. Marina Hernandez and Lopez's suspicions proved true, when the man in the black sedan parked outside the HEB and followed the girls inside the store.
Getting Some Answers
Marina Hernandez tracked the man down to an aisle inside the HEB.
“He noticed my mom following him and he turned around and asked, ‘Why are you following me?’” Samantha Hernandez recounted.
Marina Hernandez confronted him and asked which one of the girls he was following. He admitted it was Samantha. He added that she was so pretty and attractive. Marina Hernandez asked how long he’d been following her, and he admitted since J.C. Penney. Three hours earlier.
Samantha Hernandez could hear her mother calling her name from inside the store. When she caught up to them, her mother explained, “He’s been following you from the house!”
Samantha Hernandez said the man apologized, saying, “I’m having personal problems,” and “I don’t want any trouble.”
"I honestly think he had bad intentions, nobody in their right mind does that," Samantha Herandez says.
Marina Hernandez called her husband into the store, as the man tried to leave. The suspicious man also said he was “going through something.” Marina Hernandez took a picture of him, and his car and the license plates on his black Nissan.
Both women took to social media and posted about the incident and shared the pictures. People responded to Marina and Samantha Hernandezes’ Facebook posts with more than 2000 shares. A couple of people even ran the man’s plates and have identified him from his picture as a Fulshear resident.
“What would have happened if we didn’t follow you?” Marina Hernandez asked her daughter.
Samantha Hernandez, a Morton Ranch High School graduate, says, “I honestly don’t go anywhere alone, because I watch those forensics shows.” She said she usually travels with her boyfriend, and admits, “I’m not going anywhere by myself. The one day I go out without him, and this happens.”
Alerting the Police
Marina Hernandez and Lopez filed an incident report with the Katy Police Department. They were instructed if they see the suspicious man again, they should call the police. Samantha Hernandez said the police ran the man’s license plates and told the family that he didn’t have a criminal record.
Samantha Hernandez shared that her mother and Lopez said the police were nice. “But they couldn’t do anything about the man because he didn’t do anything wrong,” she added.
This incident serves as a reminder to Katy residents to be vigilant and pay attention when they’re in stores, parking lots and their cars. Samantha Hernandez says her mother and her husband are more worried about her safety.
“Women can’t go out alone anywhere,” Samantha Hernandez says. “But the man they reported knows now that people are watching him.”
“People just need to be aware of their surroundings,” warns Lopez.
Katy Magazine reached out to the Katy Police Department but have not heard back from them at the time of publication. We will update this article as necessary.