A Grand Jury has returned an indictment for the prosecution of Manuel Jesus Vega. He has been charged with First Degree Murder and Kidnapping in the July 14, 2019 killing of Viviana Sanchez. Sanchez was 53 years old.

On July 14th, 2019, Viviana Sanchez contacted Allison’s Car Service, requesting to be picked up at 12340 Fieldpoint Way, in a section of Spring Hill located in Pasco County. Sanchez told the dispatch person she was in fear for her life and to pick her up in 30 minutes. She told the car service that if she did not get an answer at the door to wait 15-minutes. She then left instructions saying that if she didn’t come out to call the police.

According to the Arrest Affidavit the car service called the Pasco Sheriff’s Office for help.

Pasco County deputies went to Sanchez’s house but no one answered the door. At approximately 3 pm deputies documented Sanchez as missing.

Almost six hours later that evening around 8:44 pm, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office received a transfer call from a cab driver at Allison’s Car Service named LauraJean Hartman.

Hartman explained that she had received a text from Sanchez earlier that day saying that she was with her boyfriend, Vega, who was a truck driver and that she was supposed to go on the road with him the following morning. Hartman reiterated that Sanchez said she was in fear for her life and that she had been in touch with Pasco Sheriff’s deputies throughout the day to help locate her.

Hartman told Hernando County 911 emergency operators that Sanchez’s family members had called her and that they had tracked Sanchez’s phone to the Dollar Tree on County Line Road by using a GPS application.

Hartman explained that she was at the Dollar Tree store on County Line Road and could see Vega’s tractor trailer parked behind the store.

Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputies immediately responded and found Vega’s truck parked and running with Vega inside. He pulled the truck forward then stopped as deputies could hear screaming coming from inside the cab of the semi. Believing Sanchez was inside, deputies tried to gain entry but were unable to do so as the doors were locked and the windows were rolled up.

While this was going on Vega called 911 and told operators that the deputies should not try to enter the truck. He said he wanted his mother to arrive and he would then surrender peacefully.

Pasco deputies then arrived on scene as Vega said he wasn’t afraid to go to prison. Deputies were able to get Vega out of the truck where they found Sanchez’s body. She had been strangled.

Sanchez was a victim of domestic violence. A few weeks before Vega strangled Sanchez, he was arrested in Pasco County for Domestic Battery by Strangulation on Viviana Sanchez. There was a no-contact order in place between Vega and Sanchez. The arraignment date for that incident, which occurred on May 10, 2019, was set for July 29th, 2019.

Vega is currently being held at the Hernando County Detention Center on a no bond status.

“Our community mourns this tragic and senseless loss. It’s well known that leaving is the most dangerous time in a violent relationship, however advocates are available 24/7 to provide assistance in crafting your escape plan. Intimate partner violence escalates (unfortunately sometimes towards a lethal end) and research shows us that leaving is the safest option over time.” said Shannon Sokolowski, Executive Director of Dawn Center in Hernando County. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, please contact Dawn Center. They have a helpline 24 hours a day at 352-686-8430. All services are free and confidential.

“Our family would like to thank everyone for the kind words and support we have received from the community and especially law enforcement from Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties,” said  Erika Delgado, sister of Viviana Sanchez. “You all give us hope as we continue on this nightmare waiting for justice to be served.”  

In a gofundme page set up to help with funeral expenses Viviana’s family made a statement saying:

“Viviana’s light was dimmed way too soon but its lasting impression very much shines on in her children, beautiful granddaughter, parents, siblings and all those she loved. Her radiant smile could brighten up a room and even the simplest of things, like music and the beach, would bring her joy.  To know her was to love her and her loss leaves a profound sadness in our hearts.” 

If you would like to help Viviana’s family, you may do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-viviana-sanchez

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