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Family Looking for Missing Daughter Was Accused of Trespassing. While in Jail, They Found Out She Is Presumed Dead

Daphne Fernandez has been charged with attempted murder in the presumed death of Sierra Hernandez, authorities say

<p>GoFundMe</p> Sierra Hernandez

GoFundMe

Sierra Hernandez

• Authorities in Florida believe they've recovered the body of Sierra Hernandez

• Five members of Hernandez's family were arrested while following a tip to find her, but those charges have been dropped

• Police arrested Daphne Fernandez in connection with Hernandez's death, an affidavit states. Authorities have also named Enrique Martinez as another suspect

A Florida woman's family is in mourning after her presumed death, which five family members learned about while in jail after being arrested while searching for her, according to multiple reports.

Sierra Hernandez, 20, was reported missing on Jan. 14, and a body believed to be hers was discovered on Jan. 19. The Polk County Sheriff's Office announced last week that they believe Hernandez was murdered, but a public information officer tells PEOPLE authorities are still awaiting confirmation of her identity through DNA.

A woman who was allegedly driving Hernandez’s car has now been arrested and charged with numerous offenses in connection with Hernandez's presumed death, the public information officer tells PEOPLE.

That woman, Daphne Fernandez, 44, was arrested on Jan. 15 and has been charged with kidnapping, attempted murder, abuse of a dead body and accessory after an act of capital felony, per the sheriff’s office.

<p>Sierra Hernandez/Facebook</p> Sierra Hernandez

Sierra Hernandez/Facebook

Sierra Hernandez

A man who was identified by a witness as one of Hernandez’s alleged attackers has also been arrested, but he is charged with murder and other offenses in connection with another case, the public information officer tells PEOPLE.

That man, Enrique Martinez, 26, was arrested on Jan. 23 in connection with the November killing of Edil Rodriguez, per the sheriff’s office, and has been charged with first degree murder, tampering with evidence as well as resisting arrest among other charges.

Martinez has not been charged in connection with Hernandez's case.

Hernandez’s family members have said they were arrested when they tried to conduct their own search for the missing woman at a location they had been tipped off about, Fox 13, WTSP and WESH reported.

They were all arrested on Jan. 19 and released on Jan. 24, and had been charged with evidence tampering, while some were charged with trespassing and/or armed burglary, online records show. 

​​"I would do this over and over again for her, you know, to be put back where we were," Amber Merzacco, one of the family members who'd been arrested, told Fox 13. "I would do it for her again."

Charges against all of Fernandez's family members were dropped, the sheriff’s office tells PEOPLE. However, three of them said they'd lost their jobs after being released, WFLA reported.  

<p>POLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE</p> Enrique Martinez & Daphne Fernandez

POLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Enrique Martinez & Daphne Fernandez

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An arrest affidavit for Fernandez, reviewed by PEOPLE, says police found a woman's remains, presumed to be Hernandez's, in a burnt pile in Fernandez's home.

The victim went to that location on Jan. 9 to see a man she'd met online, per the affidavit.

The two spent the night there and after the man briefly left the next day, he alleged to police he returned to see Hernandez tied up, per the affidavit. He also alleged he saw Martinez, who he recognized as the murder suspect police had been looking for. He claimed that when he tried to intervene on behalf of Hernandez, Martinez “charged” at him, after which the man fled. 

Another witness told police she'd overheard three men discuss how Hernandez had been tied up and was being tortured in Fernandez's home, the affidavit alleges. 

An investigation is ongoing and further charges may be added, the sheriff’s office tells PEOPLE.

Both suspects will appear in court for their arraignments on all charges in February, court records show.

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