Fort Worth

Dallas medical examiner rules homicide in the death of La Estrella reporter

La Estrella reporter/photographer Jacinto (Jay) Torres Hernandez was found shot to death Monday afternoon in the backyard of a Garland home.
La Estrella reporter/photographer Jacinto (Jay) Torres Hernandez was found shot to death Monday afternoon in the backyard of a Garland home. Courtesy

Jacinto Torres Hernandez didn’t seem concerned or worried the last time his son talked to him in Grand Prairie.

That was more than a week ago.

“We were at some rental property that we were doing repairs,” Gibran Torres said Wednesday. “I invited him to brunch, but he said he had other things to do.”

Gibran Torres never saw him again.

On Monday, his father, better known as Jay Torres, a real estate agent and a freelancer for a Star-Telegram publication, was found dead in the back yard of a residence in the 4200 block of Mayflower Drive in Garland.

“I was going through some of his stuff, and I noticed where he was showing property on that street,” his son said Wednesday. “That’s the only reason I think he was in Garland.”

Someone who knew Hernandez found his body and called police, Garland police Lt. Pedro Barineau said. Hernandez, 57, had been shot in the upper body, he said.

Investigators said they believe the body had been in the back yard for a few days.

The Dallas County medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide on Tuesday.

Torres’ vehicle was found near the residence.

“He was well-known in the community, and we believe someone has to know something about what happened,” Barineau said.

Police released few other details.

Torres, who lived in Dallas, was a frequent contributor for almost two decades to La Estrella, the Star-Telegram’s Spanish-language publication.

“His dedication, devotion and passion for journalism will always be remembered by all. He was a person who always focused on covering the Hispanic community in a full, objective and professional manner,” said Juan Antonio Ramos, executive editor of La Estrella.

“But his death also leaves a gap, a huge vacuum for the wonderful friendship that he always gave to so many people. His love for his family, his dedication to his work, his affection for his friends, that's something we will always have with us.”

He was a reporter and photographer for the publication, covering many aspects of life in the Hispanic community in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“My sincerest condolences go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Jay Torres,” U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, said in a Wednesday email. “I first met Jay in 2012 while he was covering local elections, including the race for Congressional District 33. I will always remember his professionalism and sheer talent for reporting news to the Dallas-Fort Worth community.”

Gibran Torres said that he wanted people to remember his father as someone who never forgot where he came from — Mexico.

“He came here to better himself and his family,” his son said. “He always went out to help the community.”

But his son also wanted people to know that his father enjoyed life.

“He loved to travel,” Gibran Torres said. “By the time I was 18, we had already been to 15 different countries.”

Funeral arrangements were incomplete on Wednesday.

Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr