Sheriff’s deputies find woman dead in tractor-trailer after suspect surrenders

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Sheriff’s deputies find woman dead in tractor-trailer after suspect surrenders

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 19:23
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STAFF REPORT

At 8:44pm on July 14, 2019 a concerned caller from a Hernando County taxi company related information to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office leading to the tragic recovery of a deceased woman, Viviana Sanchez.  Sanchez was reported missing in Pasco County earlier in the afternoon.  

From the Sheriff’s Office description of the unfolding events, the caller and Sanchez’s family members were able to determine her whereabouts, but unfortunately it was too late by the time law enforcement arrived on scene at the parking lot of Dollar Tree on County Line Rd. 

Sanchez had called the taxi company that afternoon around 2pm requesting a taxi in 30 minutes to an address on Fieldpoint Way in Spring Hill (Pasco County).  Sanchez told the taxi company that if she didn't answer the door when they arrived, they should call the police. Rather than respond to the residence, a representative from the taxi company immediately contacted the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

Deputies from the Pasco Sheriff's Office responded to the residence on Fieldpoint Way and found that no one was there.  A Missing Person report was documented at that time by the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

The caller from the taxi company explained to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office that she had received a text from Sanchez earlier in the day that said Sanchez was with her boyfriend Manuel Vega and she was in fear for her life and to call the police.  The text message also gave information about Vega's work, over-the-road trucking, and that he would be leaving Monday morning on a trip.

The caller advised Hernando County emergency operators that family members of Sanchez were able to track her cell phone to the area of the Dollar Tree on County Line Road.  The caller drove to that area and spotted Vega's tractor-trailer parked behind the Dollar Tree. The caller did not see anyone around the tractor-trailer, and she did not approach it.  She immediately called 9-1-1.

Hernando County Sheriff's deputies arrived and attempted to make contact with someone in the tractor-trailer, which was running at the time.  The driver attempted to back up but was unable to do so due to being blocked by patrol vehicles. The driver pulled the truck forward then stopped.  Believing the female was inside the truck, and in danger, deputies attempted to enter the truck. Deputies were unable to gain entry, as all the doors were locked and windows up.

Hernando County 9-1-1 operators received another transfer call from the Pasco Sheriff's Office.  This time, the caller, a male, stated he was inside the truck and deputies should not try to enter.  The male stated he wanted to wait for his mother to arrive, and he would surrender peacefully.

Pasco Sheriff's deputies arrived on scene and assisted with the investigation.

Vega continued to communicate with deputies but refused to exit the truck.

After a short time, Vega exited the truck.

Deputies entered the cab of the truck and located Sanchez; she was deceased.

Vega refused to speak with detectives about the incident or what led up to the death of Viviana Sanchez and the case remains active. 

Manuel Jesus Vega, 50, is in custody and has been charged with Murder in the First Degree and Kidnapping.  He is being held at the Hernando County Detention Center on a No Bond status.

The sheriff’s office investigation revealed that Sanchez and Vega have been involved in ongoing domestic violence issues (in Pasco County) since at least May of this year.  At that time, a Pasco County judge issued a no contact order between Vega and Sanchez after Vega was arrested for Domestic Battery by Strangulation (on Sanchez). Vega had since bonded out of jail and was due in court on July 29, 2019 for arraignment.  It is unknown if the two were still residing together or having regular contact.

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