MODESTO -- An anonymous tip led to the arrest Thursday of Mario Jesus Hernandez, a gang member who San Jose police believe crept into the home of a vintage car restorer last year and shot him to death.
The tipster told Modesto police that Hernandez, 24, who had been featured on an episode of "America's Most Wanted," was staying at a home in that city. Modesto investigators contacted San Jose police, who confirmed that they had a warrant out for Hernandez as a suspect in the slaying of Marco Paredes.
Paredes, 25, was shot to death in a South Capitol Avenue home on April 17, 2011.
Investigators at the time said Hernandez sneaked into the home to shoot Paredes, but they did not specify a motive. Police said Hernandez was a gang member and may have escaped a dragnet by using the identity of his identical twin brother.
But the "America's Most Wanted" episode, which aired Aug. 24, apparently caught the eye of someone who knew Hernandez in his new life.
According to Modesto police, about 9 p.m. Thursday officers surrounded the home and used a loudspeaker to tell Hernandez to surrender.
Police said Kathryn Tisdale, 18, lives at the home and came out to tell officers that she doesn't know Hernandez and denied that he was in the home.
But officers continued to call him out over the loudspeaker, and about 30 minutes later Hernandez emerged and surrendered without incident. No one else was inside the house.
Modesto police said they learned Tisdale is Hernandez's girlfriend and knew what he was wanted for. She was arrested on suspicion of harboring a wanted felon and booked into Stanislaus County.
Hernandez, 24, was handed over to San Jose police and booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
San Jose police spokesman Albert Morales said investigators have been in touch with the victim's relatives, who after his death last year remembered Paredes as a fun-loving, family oriented man. They said he began restoring cars after earning his high school General Education Development certificate.
Paredes also had converted a shed behind his family's home into a recording studio and was trying to create his own record label to produce local rappers.
Morales said he could not provide details of the investigation or say what officers believe Hernandez has been doing during his 18 months on the run.
Staff writer Peter Delevett contributed to this report. Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.