Additional murder charge announced in North Hill case

Two officers standing near a tent in the woods
Police officers are seen in the North Hill woods last year during the investigation into the murder of a 16-year-old boy (Fairfax County Police Department image)

A third person has been charged with murder in the killing a 16-year-old boy in the North Hill woods last spring.

Bryon Arenas Estupinian, who was already in custody after being arrested last month on abduction charges related to the same case, now faces a murder charge in the death of Richard Hernandez Cruz, the Fairfax County Police announced Monday.

Arenas Estupinian was already being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Hernandez Cruz found buried in the North Hill woods on May 23 after police had begun searching for him there the day before. North Hill, a 33-acre county-owned property that was once home to a large trailer park but is now just an overgrown wooded area, is located between the Cherry Hill Apartments and Dart Drive (see map) off of Route 1. Construction of a new housing development is expected to begin there later this year.

Five people in total have been charged in Hernandez Cruz’s murder thus far. A juvenile girl and Armando Dagoberto Reyes Reyes, 27, face murder charges. Reyes Reyes was arrested on July 2 after fleeing to Florida, while the juvenile girl was initially arrested in May on lesser charges but then charged with murder in December.

The two other men charged in the case, 20-year-old Cesar Antonio Ochoa Carill and 20-year-old Doroteo E. Diaz Martinez, were arrested in May. Each was charged with unlawful disposal of a dead body.

Police have said the murder is gang-related, and details reported by The Washington Post described a bizarre motive for the killing that allegedly involved accusations by Reyes Reyes that the Hernandez Cruz was using “black magic” to control a girl. More details from The Post’s reporting on the case can be read here.

Hernandez Cruz has not been named by police due to a state law that restricts law enforcement from releasing the names of juvenile crime victims without the permission of their parents. However after his murder The Washington Post published his name. Hernandez Cruz had been reported missing and endangered in early May by the police. He was last seen in the 4900 block of Beauregard Street.

Police said Monday that Hernandez Cruz’s murder remains an active case.