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Arrest warrant issued in 2006 stabbing that left woman dead in Aurora

An arrest warrant has been issued for Salvador Hernandez-Morales in the death of Francisca Perea-Dominguez.

AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora Police Department and the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that an arrest warrant has been issued in a July 2006 cold case homicide.

Salvador Hernandez-Morales, 45, is wanted on the following charges in the death of Francisca Perea-Dominguez, who was 42 at the time, the DA's office said:

  • First-degree murder after deliberation
  • First-degree murder
  • Sexual assault
Credit: 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office
Salvador Hernandez-Morales

On July 1, 2006, Perea-Dominguez was found dead from a single stab wound to her abdomen inside her apartment in the 12600 block of east Kansas Drive. 

A witness said her brother went to a club with Perea-Dominguez on June 30, and they returned around 3 a.m. the next morning, according to the arrest warrant. When the witness went to check on Perea-Dominguez the next morning after she had not answered multiple phone calls from the witness' brother, she knocked on the door and there was no answer.

The witness then discovered the door was unlocked, which was unusual, and went inside where she found Perea-Dominguez on the bedroom floor covered in blood.

Credit: CBI
Francisca Perea-Dominguez was killed in a 2006 stabbing in Aurora. An arrest warrant has been issued for Salvador Hernandez-Morales in her death.

It appeared that her shorts were placed on her in a way that looked like they were put on her by someone else, and investigators found torn and bloody underwear about two feet from her, the arrest warrant says.

Another witness who lived below Perea-Dominguez told investigators she heard a lot of "bumping and running " that sounded like people struggling or wrestling in the apartment above her between 11:30 a.m. and noon on July 1, the arrest warrant says.

That witness said she saw Perea-Dominguez's roommate, described as an unknown man who was 5-foot-6 with a slim build and mustache, leaving around 1 p.m., according to the arrest warrant. She also said he often drove a white 1994 Ford Explorer.

Another witness reported also that Perea-Dominguez lived with a short man who "always" wore a white cowboy hat, and thought they were married, the affidavit says.

According to the arrest warrant, several pages of telephone records and a Western Union receipt were found under a sofa cushion, and the subscriber was listed as "Salvador Hernandez." A pay stub from Colorado Green Grass for Salvador Hernandez was also found in the apartment.

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Investigators obtained an address from the paystub and Colorado Green Grass, where they found a white 1994 Ford Explorer near the apartment associated with Hernandez-Morales, the arrest warrant says. 

Investigators then saw an unknown man leave the apartment and enter the Ford Explorer, and they executed a traffic stop, according to the arrest warrant. The man was identified as Herberto Salina Morales, who said he borrowed the vehicle from a man named "Chabba" that had been with his cousins. Salina Morales was arrested on traffic charges and was fingerprinted, photographed and agreed to be swabbed for DNA testing. 

Investigators made contact with a person identified as Alejandro Salinas Morales at the address given by Herberto Salina Morales, the arrest warrant says. Alejandro Salinas Morales identified "Chabba" as his cousin Salvador but did not know his last name.

Investigators also made contact with a woman at the address on the paystub who identified "Chabba" as her brother, and said his real name was Salvador Hernandez. She said she was the renter at the apartment, that Hernandez-Morales lived with his girlfriend "'Kiki' [Francesca aka 'Quica']" in an apartment off East Mississippi Avenue in Aurora, the arrest warrant says. She also provided a birth certificate that showed his full name was Salvador Hernandez-Morales.

Credit: 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office

Records showed Hernandez-Morales had a prior arrest for a traffic offense in Commerce City, and his listed height and weight were consistent with witness descriptions of Perea-Dominguez's roommate.

Later in July, the Ford Explorer seized by police was examined, and evidence including a white cowboy hat, a notebook containing a dry and reddish stain, a social security card for Salvador Hernandez, a Permanent Resident Card for Salvador Hernandez and three passport photos of Perea-Dominguez were found in the car, according to the arrest warrant. 

Credit: 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office

In September 2006, a CBI lab report indicated fingerprints lifted off of two cologne bottles inside Perea-Dominguez's apartment matched fingerprints on file belonging to Hernandez-Perez.

In October 2006, investigators interviewed a witness who believed that Salvador-Hernandez had returned to Mexico, the arrest warrant says.

In April 2007, a CBI lab report indicated a white towel with blood stains found wrapped around Perea-Dominguez's arm, her pajama bottoms and samples collected in a sexual assault kit during her autopsy all indicated the presence of semen, the arrest warrant says.

In May 2007, another CBI lab report indicated the DNA profiles from the sperm found from the various sources matched the same male donor, and partial profiles from the white towel and a blue toothbrush found in her bathroom matched the DNA profile from samples collected in the sexual assault kit.

In July 2021, a new detective was assigned to the case who identified additional items of evidence that were candidates for further DNA including the white cowboy hat, according to the arrest warrant.

In July 2022, a CBI lab report indicated that a white cowboy hat contained a partial DNA mixture, and when compared to the DNA profiles from a blue toothbrush and sperm they were not excluded, the arrest warrant says. A CBI forensic scientist indicated the DNA association between the toothbrush and cowboy hat was "very strong." DNA testing also excluded other suspects who were seen with Perea-Dominguez before her death.

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