In January 2014, a brutal beating left Jose Hernandez dead in the snow outside his apartment in Park Township, Michigan. What the investigators later uncovered was a chilling murder-for-hire plot motivated by money. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Deadly Women: Love of Money’ features Jose’s murder as one of three cases highlighted on the show. The police learned that his longtime partner, Maryann Castorena, was the mastermind. So, let’s find out more about what happened then, shall we?
Who is Maryann Castorena?
Maryann Castorena and Jose Patricio Hernandez started dating sometime in 2005. At the time, she was a single mother of two sons. Eventually, the couple and the kids began living together at Jose’s apartment in Park Township. While Jose mostly worked the night shift, Maryann worked at an insurance firm. The relationship seemed to be going perfectly, and as per the show, Jose paid all the bills while Maryann kept track of the finances. At some point, Maryann was introduced to a friend of her son, Anthony Delagraza, who was part of a gang and wanted to get out.
Maryann invited Anthony to stay with them, and he was eventually let out of the gang in December 2012. But by March 2013, Maryann’s greed started to show when she asked Anthony if he knew someone who could total Jose’s car so she could collect the insurance money. Anthony agreed to do it, and according to him, Maryann paid him $1000 for the job. He used Molotov cocktails to blow up the car, and the family later received $40,000 in insurance proceeds.
Sometime around July 2013, Maryann moved to California and married a man in Nevada. However, Jose had no clue about it. Maryann continued to lead a double life after moving back to Michigan. According to the show, she had a relationship with both men during that period. Then, on January 5, 2014, Jose was attacked outside his apartment as he got ready to head to work. He was bludgeoned in the head and died due to severe blunt-force trauma.
The next day, the authorities found Jose’s body buried in the snow. As per the show, Maryann reported him missing. The investigation led them to Anthony, who told the police that he had killed Jose, but Maryann orchestrated everything. The motive was money. Maryann stood to gain over $1 million in Jose’s stock options, 401k plan, and life insurance policy worth $750,000. Anthony told the police that he met with Maryann multiple times in the time leading up to the murder and discussed how it would be done.
Maryann offered him $50,000 first before upping the offer to $75,000. The authorities later found a note that outlined the murder. When she was questioned about it, she provided multiple stories. Initially, Maryann claimed what she wrote was an idea for a book or a movie script and that she had overheard two women talking about it. Later, Maryann claimed Anthony forced her to write it, threatening her sons’ safety. Finally, she stated that an unidentified man had broken into her home and forced her to write the letter.
Where is Maryann Castorena Today?
The authorities further learned that Maryann borrowed a car from a family member, picked Anthony up, and drove him to Jose’s apartment. While Anthony waited for Jose to come out and attack him, she was in the car nearby. Maryann later drove him elsewhere so he could dump the murder weapon, a ball joint remover. Anthony said of Maryann, “She then told me that, if he turned into a vegetable, she doesn’t get any money – and she needs the money.”
In November 2014, Maryann, then 40, was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder, solicitation of first-degree premeditated murder, and lying to a peace officer. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder, life in prison for conspiracy, 15 to 45 years for solicitation, and 27 to 48 months for lying to a peace officer. Records indicate that she remains incarcerated at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
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