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“Accidental death” in Watsonville now investigated as homicide

casto luna
Monterey County Sheriff's Office
Casto Luna

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) The Monterey County Sheriff's Office said what appeared to be an accidental death in Watsonville has become a homicide investigation, and investigators have made an arrest.

In October, fire and ambulance personnel in Santa Cruz County responded to a report that 71-year-old Arnulfo Hernandez had fallen and needed help. They found him in grave condition after what was reported as an accidental fall, and he was taken to Natividad for treatment.

Four days later, Hernandez died of his injuries. Based on the information they had, the coroner's office ruled the death an accident and closed the case.

Last month, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office got information that Hernandez's death was the result of a crime and that the actions leading to his death happened in north Monterey County.

Investigators interviewed first responders, witnesses and family members and came to the conclusion that 41-year-old Casto Luna, a transient from Watsonville, was the suspect.

On Monday, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office found and arrested Luna near Ford and Kilburn Streets in Watsonville with the help of Watsonville police.

During an interview, the Sheriff's Office said Luna admitted to causing Hernandez's death. He was booked into the Monterey County Jail on murder, elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, witness intimidation and spousal battery charges. His bail is set at more than a million dollars.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Aras Wilson at 831-759-7203 or Det. Sgt. Bryan Hoskins at 831-755-3773.

Crime / Monterey County / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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