San Bernardino – The statewide California Peace Officers’ Association Awards Committee recently awarded San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, along with other law enforcement members who worked with her, the Outstanding Cold Case Award for their efforts on a 1976 murder.
Other recipients included San Bernardino County Sheriff Sergeants Rob Trostle and Patty Ruiz, retired Captain Ringhoffer, and investigating officers from the Glendora Police Department.
The 1976 case involved the murder of 18-year-old Cynthia May Hernandez. On August 26, 1976, Hernandez left her home to catch a movie at the Fox Twin Theaters in Covina. Hernandez, a recent Charter Oak High School graduate, never came home. The next morning, her family located her unoccupied vehicle in the theater parking lot. Fearing for her safety, they filed a missing person’s report with the Glendora Police Department.
It took 40 years for a suspect to be identified and charged in connection with her death. Deputy DA Denise Yoakum, assigned to the Cold Case Unit, prosecuted the case, and on October 17, 2016, Larry James Allred was sentenced to seven years to life in prison for first-degree murder. According to California law, in 1976, when the murder was committed, this was the maximum sentence Allred could be sentenced to serve.
“Securing justice for Cynthia and her family was an absolute team effort, one that involved multiple agencies,” said Yoakum. “To be recognized for those efforts is a great honor, and another chance to honor the memory of Cynthia and her family.”
The California Peace Officers’ Association Awards’ presentations are the culmination of year-long review and selection of only the most deserving law enforcement individuals in California.