Today, a Grand Jury handed down an indictment for First Degree Murder and Kidnapping against Manuel Jesus Vega, 50, for the death of Viviana Sanchez, 53.
Vega is currently incarcerated at the Hernando County Detention Center.
Earlier this year, Vega was arrested in Pasco County for Domestic Battery by Strangulation on Sanchez. He bonded out of jail and a Pasco County Judge issued a no contact order between Vega and Sanchez. A court date was set for July 29th, 2019 for arraignment on the charge.
On July 14th, 2019, Sanchez contacted a Hernando County taxi company, requesting a pickup at Fieldpoint Way, a Spring Hill address in Pasco County. Sanchez told the taxi company that if she didn’t answer the door, they should call the police. The call was disturbing enough that the employee immediately called the Pasco Sheriff’s Office who responded to the residence.
No one answered the door. A missing person report was documented at that time by Pasco deputies. This was in the early afternoon.
At around 8:44 pm that night, 9-1-1 operators in Hernando County received a transfer call from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The caller was a female employee with the taxi company who told operators that she had received a text from Sanchez saying she was with Vega and in fear of her life. The text referenced the fact that Vega was an over-the-road-truck-driver and that he would be leaving Monday morning on a trip.
The caller then advised operators that family members had tracked Sanchez’s phone to the Dollar Tree on County Line Road. The caller drove to the area and spotted Vega’s tractor trailer parked behind the Dollar Tree. She then called 9-1-1.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputies immediately responded to the area and blocked the semi-truck in front and rear. The truck was running. However, the driver (Vega) refused to exit the truck. The driver pulled forward then stopped. Believing the victim was in the truck, deputies tried to gain entry but were unable to do so.
Another 9-1-1 call came in, this time from Vega. He told operators that the deputies should not try to enter the truck. He stated he wanted his mother to arrive and he’d then surrender peacefully.
After a short time, Vega exited the truck.
When deputies located the Viviana Sanchez inside the truck, she was deceased.
Vega made no statements to deputies at the time.