Always acknowledging the efforts of others, and never seeking attention during her years of tireless and tenacious work in our Child Abduction Unit, speaks to Karen’s investigative style.
Although each case presents legal and social issues that complicate child
abduction cases, few challenged Karen and the team more than the
reuniting of 22 years old Steve Hernandez with his mother. Steve was
abducted at age 18 months, and taken from his mother in the United
States, to Puebla Mexico. The abducting father removed all photographs
and documents before fleeing. This case was made through extensive
coordination with the Department of Justice and Mexican officials;
exhaustive investigation follow-ups; developing a ruse to collect a DNA
sample, and committed team work. This investigative story extends far
beyond the written limits of recognition, but remains in the hearts of
those brought together and those who brought them together.
Congratulations for Investigative Excellence.
courteous, caring and tactful in her professional role as a member of
the Child Abduction Unit, Michelle compliments an incredible DA team. As
a fluent Spanish speaker, she was a strong investigative resource that
reunited 22 years old Steve Hernandez, a U.S. citizen, abducted by his
father at the age of 18 months and missing the past 20 plus years with
This mother and son were reunited after extensive
coordination with the Department of Justice and the Mexican officials.
Using her Spanish language skills and developing a ruse to collect a DNA
sample to confirm identity, and getting cooperation from the Mexican
officials, Michelle had a key role in the emotional conclusion to this
case. Clearing the immigration checkpoint into the U.S., Steve was
accompanied to the San Bernardino County District’s Attorney’s Office to
see his mother for the first time since 1995. The matter had extensive
local, national and international attention. Michelle’s contributions to
this case were significant.