FOREST HILL, La. (WNTZ) – A seemingly routine response to a reported hit and run incident on October 22nd took a grim turn, as investigators from the Forest Hill Police Department and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office (RPSO) jointly probed into the details surrounding the incident.
The initial call led officers to the 100 block of Thelma Drive in Forest Hill, Louisiana. Upon arrival, they discovered a grievously injured Hispanic male identified as Clemente Cruz, receiving medical aid from Acadian Ambulance personnel. Cruz was swiftly transported to a local hospital for treatment.
However, as the investigation unfolded, it became evident that the injuries Cruz sustained were not consistent with a hit and run accident, as initially suspected. Instead, investigators began to suspect that the wounds may have resulted from a violent physical altercation.
Further complicating matters, the situation took a heartbreaking turn when the Rapides Parish Coroner’s Office notified detectives on October 24th that Clemente Cruz had tragically succumbed to his injuries. A full autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
Preliminary pathology reports revealed that Cruz’s injuries were not the result of an automobile accident, as initially believed, but rather the tragic outcome of blunt force trauma to the head.
Detectives from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office worked diligently to gather sufficient evidence, ultimately leading to the issuance of an arrest warrant for Herson Caballero Lopez, a 27-year-old Honduran immigrant. Lopez is now facing a charge of Second Degree Murder.
This investigation remains an active and ongoing effort. Authorities are urging anyone with pertinent information regarding the case or knowledge of Herson Lopez’s whereabouts to step forward and assist with the ongoing investigation. Detectives have asked that individuals contact Detective Matt Cloud with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigation Division, at 318-473-6727 or Crime Stoppers at 318-443-7867.
This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of diligent investigative work and underscores the commitment of law enforcement agencies to seek justice and closure for the victims and their families.