Two suspects charged in death of Juan Carlos Hernández

Two people were charged in the killing of Juan Carlos Hernández, whose remains were found Sunday, Nov. 15, after missing for nearly two months.

Ethan Kedar Astaphan, 27, and Sonita Heng, 20, appeared in a court office on Monday, Nov. 23, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s (DA) Office.

Astaphan pleaded not guilty to one count of murder during his arraignment. Heng also pleaded not guilty to one count of accessory after the fact, a spokesperson for the DA’s office confirmed.

Hernández went missing on the night of Sept. 22. The Los Angeles Police Department, along with the FBI and the San Bernardino County Sheriff, located his body in a shallow grave in the Mojave Desert on Nov. 15, according to an LAPD press release.

If convicted, Astaphan faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. Heng faces a sentence of three years in prison.

Both defendants are scheduled to appear in court again on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The case remains under investigation by the LAPD.