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Missing Washington state woman found dead in Mexico; man described as suspect arrested

SEATTLE (AP) — A 54-year-old suburban Seattle woman who had been missing for two weeks was found dead in Mexico, and a man described as a suspect was arrested by Mexican police on unrelated charges, police said.

Police in Renton, Washington, said Monday that friends told officers they last heard from Reyna Hernandez on Feb. 26. Friends told police she said she was running errands before returning to her home. Two days later Hernandez was reported missing after she didn’t open her hair salon or answer her phone.

Police said on Friday they saw a news article about an unidentified body found in a cemetery along the Tijuana Highway in Mexicali, a port of entry between the U.S. and Mexico near the border with California.

Renton investigators contacted Mexicali authorities and provided enough information to identify the body over the weekend as that of Hernandez, police said. Police didn't say what led them to believe the body belonged to Hernandez.

Mexican law enforcement officials arrested a 61-year-old Renton man on unrelated charges and recovered Hernandez’s vehicle, according to Renton police. The name of the man arrested wasn't released and Renton police didn't say what relationship he may have had with Hernandez, but described her death as a domestic violence crime.

Police said there is evidence that Hernandez was taken against her will.

“This is the worst possible outcome, and our hearts go out to Reyna’s family and friends,” Renton police Cmdr. Chandler Swain said in a news release.

He said investigators are working with Mexicali police and U.S. federal partners to determine when and where Hernandez was killed. He added that U.S. authorities would seek the arrested man's extradition if they determine Hernandez' death occurred on American soil.