‘He couldn’t just have disappeared’: South L.A. mom pleads for return of missing 21-year-old son

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Juan Carlos Hernandez, 21, is seen in an undated photo provided by his family after he went missing on Sept. 22, 2020.
Juan Carlos Hernandez, 21, is seen in an undated photo provided by his family after he went missing on Sept. 22, 2020.

A heartbroken mother is pleading for her 21-year-old son back after he went missing in South Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Yajaira Hernandez says her son, Juan Carlos Hernandez, went to work Tuesday night but never came home. 

“I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to go to work Wednesday morning and noticed he wasn’t in bed,” she said. “That’s when I noticed that something was wrong.”

Juan was last seen working as a clerk at VIP Collective, a cannabis dispensary in South L.A. The security guards at the dispensary say they closed the shop at 10 p.m. and parted ways, according to Yajaira Hernandez.

“I’m just thinking my son is probably out there somewhere, either hurt, or possibly dead, because like I said, he couldn’t just have disappeared,” the concerned mother said.

On Thursday morning, Juan’s mom’s car that he borrowed was found on Figueroa and 64th streets.

“What LAPD said, that working girls on Figueroa stated they had noticed the car running for a few hours,” Yajaira Hernandez said. “It’s a very hot spot where they drop off vehicles and stuff like that.”

Juan hasn’t called or texted any family or friends, which his mother says is out of character for him.

His family describes him as a good kid, who was part of a neighborhood academic initiative from USC that prepares students from South L.A. for admission to a college or university. 

He’s a great kid, smart, kind, great personality, always helpful,” his mom said. “If you know anything, report it anonymously. We don’t care at this point who you are. I just need my son back, preferably alive, but if not I just need his body. I need my kid back.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.

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