Man charged with homicide in West Hazleton still at large

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WEST HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Police say Giovanni Morales, Jr., 24, has been charged with criminal homicide and other related charges in connection with the death of Jonathan Hernandez after he was found dead on June 26, in West Hazleton. Morales is still at large.

According to police paperwork, Morales traveled from New York City and was staying with Hernandez over the course of a few days in June for work in Luzerne County. On the last day they worked together, June 26th, police say they were seen at multiple locations in West Hazleton on security footage, later returning to the home of the victim.

Police say that on the next day, there was no response at the house when their supervisor came to transport them to the work site. Nobody answered the door and calls to the victim were not answered, which their boss said he found unusual. He later returned and after contacting the property owner was able to enter, finding Hernandez on the floor with physical trauma to his face and blood on him and around the apartment, according to the police report.

Giovanni Morales, Jr.

Officers at the scene noted his pockets were emptied and inside out and his cellphone was gone. They also noted that there were no signs of forced entry, leading investigators to believe that Morales was the last person to be with the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene and a later autopsy determined the death a homicide and the cause to be multiple blunt force trauma.

Police say Morales has not been arrested and should be considered armed and dangerous. They believe he returned to the New York metropolitan area. They say he is known to wear eyeglasses.

Anyone with information is asked to call the PA State Police at 570-459-3890 or the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office at 570-825-1674.

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