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Emmanuel was last seen with his brother, Fernando, and their mother, Arlet Hernandez Contreras, at their home in Orange, California on April 12, 2012; that day, Arlet's mother saw her and said nothing appeared to be unusual at the time. Over the next few days, Arlet's mother worried about her and tried to contact her. She got text messages, supposedly from her daughter, saying everything was fine and she was on vacation with her sons and their father, her live-in boyfriend, Shazer Fernando Limas.
In early May, the family's landlord called the police after a cleaning company he hired found bloodstains on the floor, beneath the carpet and on the walls inside their apartment at Renaissance at Uptown Orange in the 3000 block of west Chapman Avenue. Investigators began searching for Arlet, her sons and Shazer. He had moved out of the apartment on April 28. Photos of Arlet and Shazer are posted below this case summary.
On the evening of May 3, authorities spotted Shazer driving his Nissan 350Z in Santa Ana, California and attempted to pull him over, but he refused to stop and instead lead police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 405 and then Interstate 5. At 7:40 p.m., he finally stopped near the San Clemente Border Patrol checkpoint after his tires were punctured by a spike strip. He was detained half an hour later, and ultimately arrested and charged with three counts of murder.
Investigators stated they believed Arlet, Emmanuel and Fernando had been killed inside their apartment up to two weeks earlier. They based their timing in part because on April 14, Shazer went to the hospital to get treatment for a cut on his hand. On April 24, he visited the Home Depot and bought a tarp and other items. Authorities speculated that a possible motive was a dispute over child support; Shazer, who was already paying $450 a month in support for his children from other relationships, had been ordered to pay $284 a month in child support to Arlet beginning in April.
Arlet's remains had actually already been found before the family was reported missing, but remained unidentified until after Shazer's arrest. On April 25, county workers in La Puente, California found her tarp-covered body in a gutter near the 60 and 605 freeways. The body had only been there for a day or less. Arlet had been stabbed to death. In May police searched landfills in the cities of Brea and Irvine, looking for Emmanuel and Fernando's remains, but found nothing.
Arlet's mother hopes her grandchildren are alive and speculates they could be in Mexico, where Arlet is originally from. Foul play is suspected in Fernando and Emmanuel's disappearances due to the circumstances involved.
Left: Shazer Fernando Limas;
Right: Arlet Herandez Contreras