SHADOW HILLS : Victimized Family Pins Hope on Reward

Susan Romero, her father and her siblings have placed their hopes on a $25,000 reward and a bit of publicity that may garner something they have not had since Virginia Hernandez was slain in November--answers.

"We're not getting answers at all," said Romero, a Palmdale resident. "My mother was just a mother; she was just a housewife."

Hernandez, a 62-year-old mother of eight, was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head just inside the door of her Johanna Avenue home in Shadow Hills on the evening of Nov. 18.

Her son, 25-year-old Adrian, found her body in the living room when he and his father, Ray, came home that night.

They said at the time that she had apparently been shot after answering a knock at the door.

Police have said they do not know the motive for the shooting and have no suspects. Family members said there was no evidence that the home was robbed.

The Los Angeles City Council is expected today to approve a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

Councilman Joel Wachs, who is introducing the motion, has scheduled a press conference this afternoon with homicide detectives and family at the home.

"I keep thinking this is a dream and we just haven't woken up yet," Romero said.

Romero said the family has few clues in the case: a stranger who came to the door twice earlier in the day before Hernandez was killed, a car that sped away after seemingly staking out the home a week earlier. But witnesses need to come forward with information that might solve the mystery.

The family can only speculate about why this kind, well-liked woman, who left the house only for the occasional shopping trip, was killed, Romero said.

"This just tore a big chunk out of all of us," said Romero, who added that family members are still afraid when they walk out the front door of the house. "Everybody is just lost right now."

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