Public Information/Media Contacts

Media Statement - July 2, 2020

The San Diego State University Police Department (UPD), with support from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, has completed an extensive, months-long criminal investigation following the passing of 19-year-old  Dylan Hernandez.

“We continue to send our deepest sympathies to the Hernandez family and to others who cared for Dylan Hernandez,” SDSU Police Chief Josh Mays said. “We have taken great care in our investigation, spending months interviewing witnesses and analyzing information to fully understand what took place during the evening.” 

Hernandez, 19, attended a non-university event at a fraternity house during the night of Wednesday, November 6, 2019, according to witness reports. Based on those reports, Hernandez left the event to participate in a separate unofficial gathering organized by fellow fraternity members. Witnesses told police that Hernandez headed toward his residence hall around midnight with an individual. The following morning, around 4:30 a.m., Hernandez reportedly fell out of his bunk bed, and two individuals helped Hernandez back into his bed. At around 8:47 a.m., Hernandez was found unresponsive in his bed. An individual called 9-1-1 and immediately began CPR. University Police officers quickly arrived at the location of the incident and took over CPR. Hernandez was then transported to a San Diego area hospital, where he later died. 

As the lead investigating agency for all criminal incidents that fall within the SDSU jurisdiction, UPD immediately began investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr. Hernandez’s death. The UPD Investigations Unit began interviewing witnesses, reviewing camera footage, and collecting videos, pictures, and digital media that had been posted on social media platforms. For this particular case, UPD consulted with the District Attorney's Office to investigate any potential criminal charges arising out of Hernandez’s death. This investigation is separate from the university’s administrative investigation, which will examine allegations of student misconduct from a university policy level (i.e., non-criminal), to include student organization hazing.

On January 23, 2020, The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Department issued an autopsy report, ruling Hernandez’s manner of death accidental, caused by  blunt force injuries of his head resulting from a fall off a bunk bed. Apart from the devastating head injuries, the Medical Examiner’s report revealed only one other injury, an abrasion on the front of Hernandez’s thigh.   

On May 13, 2020, UPD’s Investigations team submitted the case to the DA’s Office based on evidence that an individual provided alcohol to minors 25658(a) B&P during the non-university event on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Detectives concluded that there was no basis to prove manslaughter charges because Hernandez’s death was an accident, and there was no witness or autopsy evidence supporting the existence of any criminal activity that was causally linked to  Hernandez’s death. There was no basis to prove hazing charges because there were no injuries upon Hernandez’s body that appeared consistent with hazing, and no evidence of student group activities likely to cause serious bodily injury or death, which is statutorily required to prove hazing.  

Now that UPD has completed its criminal investigation, SDSU will conduct its administrative review of the circumstances. On June 30, 2020, UPD provided its final report to the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities as well as Student Life & Leadership for administrative review of alleged misconduct. 

“We have confidently presented a full case that will help inform the administrative review, and are grateful that our university community has already and will continue to implement changes to help ensure student health and safety,” Chief Mays said. 

###

Media Statement - January 23, 2020

The San Diego State University Police Department (UPD) has received a copy of the Medical Examiner’s report regarding the Dylan Hernandez case and will be evaluating the findings as part of the ongoing investigation. 

UPD is aware of recent coverage that has brought specifics of the ongoing investigation into the death of Dylan Hernandez into the public space. The preliminary, incomplete police report was provided to a representative of the Hernandez family in an effort to be as supportive and transparent with the family as possible during a difficult time for them as they are mourning the tragic loss of their loved one. Details of the incomplete report, released late last year, was not meant to be shared with the public as it compromises our ongoing investigation and can hinder witnesses from sharing information. Further, the release of incomplete excerpts from the then report can contribute to inaccurate reporting and assumptions that erode the integrity and approach of the investigation.  

Government Code 6254 (f) allows for varying rights of access to police reports and case information depending on the status of the inquiring party. For example, persons involved in an incident or those representing them are entitled to greater rights of access to information than are members of the public. Members of the public and the media have a much more limited right of access. Again, as this is an ongoing investigation, details related to the case are limited. 

Although UPD has already identified essential witnesses, the University Police Department’s (UPD) investigation is ongoing and we are continuing to gather information. It is critical that anyone with information about this incident cooperates with law enforcement to allow authorities to conduct a thorough and complete investigation. 

UPD  is encouraging members of the public to immediately come forward with any information related to this incident. Confidential reports can be made by emailing [email protected] or by calling (619) 594-1991. 

We are unable to accommodate any interviews at this time. 

###

Media Statement - January 17, 2020

On Thursday morning, November 7, 2019, the San Diego State University Police Department (UPD) received a 9-1-1 phone call to respond to a student in need of medical attention at a residence located on campus at the 6100 block of Montezuma Road. University Police officers quickly arrived at the location of the incident and provided appropriate aid. Dylan Hernandez, an SDSU student, was transported to a San Diego area hospital where he was later pronounced deceased. 

UPD immediately began investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. UPD is the lead investigating agency for all criminal incidents that fall within the SDSU jurisdiction. For this particular case, UPD has consulted with the District Attorney's Office. The District Attorney's Office provides guidance to law enforcement agencies regarding investigative and prosecutorial matters. As this is an ongoing investigation, UPD detectives will continue to examine all aspects and details of the case. At this point in the investigation, the UPD Investigations Unit is awaiting findings from the Medical Examiner's Office. Further updates about the case will be provided as the investigation progresses.

Information is critical to this investigation and the University Police Department is encouraging members of the public to immediately come forward with any information related to this incident. Confidential reports can be made by emailing policeinvestigation[email protected] or by calling (619) 594-1991. 

San Diego State University Police 
Public Information Officer 
Raquel Herriott 
(619) 594-1341
[email protected] 

San Diego County District Attorney 
Communications Director 
Steve Walker
(619) 531-3890
[email protected]

###

Media Statement - November 11, 2019

The San Diego State University Police Department (UPD) launches investigations for significant on-campus incidents. As part of the investigation process, officers are examining all aspects and details of the case involving the student who was hospitalized on Thursday, Nov. 7. We understand that incidents prompt questions. To protect the integrity of the investigation, details are limited.

###

Media Statement - November 8, 2019

On the morning of Thursday, November 7, the San Diego State University Police Department (UPD) received a 911 phone call to respond to a student in need of medical attention at a residence hall located in the 6100 block of Montezuma Road.

University Police officers quickly arrived to the location of the incident and provided appropriate aid. The student was then transported to a San Diego area hospital.

UPD is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. Although the investigation is preliminary, UPD is taking this matter very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation, UPD cannot provide additional details at this time.

For additional information and support, please visit the IFC Decision and Investigation website.

###

The San Diego State University Police Department Public Information Officer (PIO) is responsible for providing the public and the media with information

Contact

For after hours and weekend inquiries, please contact the Community & Media Relations Specialist Raquel Herriott via email.

Community & Media Relations Specialist

[email protected]
619-594-1341