By John Lynds
Last week the Boston Police distributed photos of a woman walking near the scene where 18-year-old Blanca Lainez’s was murdered on June 14.
The photos, captured on a security camera in the area, show a woman walking on Princeton Street on June 14 around the time investigators believe Lainez was killed. The woman in the photos is walking while looking at her cell phone, she then pauses for a moment as if she hears something, and then returns to looking at her phone.
Boston Police last Thursday said they have identified the woman of interest and have questioned her but did not release her name or why they wanted to speak with her. However, it appears at this time that she is not at all a suspect in the case.
“The Boston Police Department would like to thank all who assisted in the identification of the female in these photographs,” the Police said in a statement released last week. “The individual has been located and interviewed by detectives. The investigation remains active and ongoing. “
Jose Hernandez, 16, of East Boston was arrested by Boston Police in July at his home at 63 Marion Street after an extensive investigation into Lainez’s death. Surveillance camera footage, cell phone records and bloody palm print had led detectives to Hernandez.
Hernandez was arraigned in East Boston Municipal Court with one count of murder. According to the District Attorney’s Office, under Massachusetts law, all juveniles over the age of 14 accused of murder are charged as adults.
Lainez body was found in a garage behind 54 Princeton Street, a home that is currently under construction, on Wednesday, June 15. She had been beaten and stabbed according to Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney John Verner of the DA’s Homicide Unit.
During Hernandez’s arraignment, Verner said video evidence from cameras in the area show a male wearing a hood exit a residence at 63 Marion St. and make his way to Princeton Street at about 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14–moments before the last outgoing activity on Lainez’ cell phone. The video also shows him running back from Princeton Street to Marion Street and putting something in his pocket at about 9:00 p.m. that night.
Analysis of footage from multiple cameras suggests that this male traveled to a portion of Princeton Street between 40 Princeton St. and the Marion Street intersection – a portion that includes 54 Princeton St., according to the DA’s office.
A search warrant was executed at 63 Marion St. where Hernandez lives and authorities found a two-tone hooded jacket consistent with the one seen on the video footage.
According to the DA’s office a person going to or from the garage in which Lainez’ body was found would have to travel between the studs of an unfinished wall of the garage. During the investigation, the examination of that area led to the recovery of a palm print that tested presumptively positive for blood – and that also matched Hernandez’ prints when he was arrested with a large knife on Thursday, June 30.
Also the DA’s office said an analysis of Lainez’ cell phone showed “extensive contact” between Hernandez and the victim prior to her homicide and suggested “animosity” between the two. Hernandez had allegedly threatened her in the weeks prior to her death.
The Boston Police Department continues to actively review the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is strongly urged to contact Boston Police Homicide Detectives at (617) 343-4470.
Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463). The Boston Police Department will stringently guard and protect the identities of all those who wish to help this investigation in an anonymous manner.