• 66°

Suspect arrested in assault case

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department arrested a suspect for the aggravated assault of a 58-year-old woman that occurred on Jan. 31, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker.

Tucker said sheriff’s department deputies responded to the call on Feb. 1 at 5:27 p.m. on Justin Road in Carriere.

Tucker said the female victim was sitting on the porch of her home and had got up to go inside when she was attacked. As she was going inside, the suspect tapped her on her shoulder and attacked her, Tucker said.

The suspect, Gerald J. Hernandez Jr., 58, of 26 Justin Rd., was arrested on Feb. 5 and charged with aggravated assault, Tucker said.

Hernandez then dragged her to the outskirts of her yard, where she couldn’t easily be seen and beat her, Tucker said. The victim was knocked unconscious and lay “unconscious in an area near her home for quite some time” before a family member found her, Tucker said.

The female victim was airlifted to Forest General in Hattiesburg, Tucker said.

Hernandez is currently being detained at the Pearl River County Detention Facility on a $20,000 bond, Tucker said.

“This doesn’t appear to be a random attack,” Tucker said.

He said the sheriff’s department is still investigating the motive for the attack, but said the victim and Hernandez were acquaintances.