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Natomas Father Arrested in Death of Son

Philip Hernandez is under arrest after officers found his son dead inside their Natomas home.

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Safety was a priority for Mathew Hernandez’s mother who contacted Child Protective Services three weeks before her son was murdered.

She warned the boy’s father, Phillip Hernandez, had a history of violence and got abusive when high.

“Safety is a key priority in child protective services,” said Michelle Callejas, Deputy Director, CPS. “We deal with families everyday who have domestic violence issues, substance abuse issues mental health issues and we have a number of stories of success.”

On Feb. 4, CPS began their investigation.

According to documents released by CPS, the agency conducted a safety assessment that includes a number of questions to determine if the child is in immediate danger.

“The information she had at the time indicated it was safe to leave Mathew in the home,” said Callejas.

Part of the investigation included a drug exam which Hernandez tested positive for Methamphetamines and Marijuana, but he agreed to get help.

CPS came up with the idea to allow Mathew and his brother to see their father only when their 72-year-old grandmother was present.

“The grandmother did not indicate any violent behavior toward the children. We had no information from other sources indicating the father had been violent toward the children,” said Callejas.

Documents show Hernandez failed to appear for a Feb. 26 drug test.

That same day, investigators say he went into his backyard, grabbed a hatchet and beat his 9-year-old son to death.


Three weeks before Phillip Hernandez allegedly murdered his 9-year-old son Mathew with a Hatchet, CPS knew of Hernadez’s instability and was at the center of an investigation.

Back in March, Hernandez entered a Sacramento court room with what Sacramento sheriff’s deputies say were self-inflicted wounds.

Weeks prior, Hernandez was being investigated by CPS after the boys mother contacted them about Hernandez’s history of domestic violence and drug abuse.

“At the point in time in which the safety plan was developed, there were no current indications from information obtained from various parties that the father was unstable or was likely to direct violent behavior toward his children,” said Michelle Callejas, deputy director for CPS.

CPS allowed Hernandez to see his two children, but only when his 72-year-old grandmother who lived with them was present.

In February, police said Hernandez fought his grandmother and allegedly killed his son while he slept.

CPS said this was a “tragic case” and that they are always looking at ways to Strengthen their policies and procedures.


Family members of Matthew Hernandez packed a Sacramento courtroom and openly wept Friday.

Matthew’s father, Phillip Hernandez, appeared bloodied up as he entered the room. Hernandez is accused to murdering 9-year-old Matthew with a hatchet.

Hernandez was seen with a large gash on his forehead in court.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jason Ramos told FOX40 that the injuries were self-inflicted by Hernandez while he was in custody at the county’s main jail.

Investigators say Hernandez allegedly broke through a sliding glass door Wednesday and attacked Matthew as he slept on the couch. Matthew’s great-grandmother tried to stop the attack but was knocked out of the way, according to police.

The judged continued Hernandez’s arraignment to March 14.


Three phrases will likely define Phillip Hernandez for the rest of his life, “the suspect, a man, the father,” said Sacramento Police Officer Michele Gigante.

Phillip Hernandez married Jessica in January 2001. They had two sons. It was the younger boy, 9-year-old Matthew who was allegedly beaten to death with a hatchet by his father Tuesday night.

According to court documents obtained by FOX40, Jessica and Phillip separated in April 2004. It was also in 2004 when Hernandez was arrested on domestic violence charges, pleaded ‘no contest’ and served 120 days of jail time and five years probation.

Hernandez violated his probation and was sent to prison, Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, for two years.

During his stay in jail and prison, Jessica had custody of the boys and moved to Nevada. At some point, Phillip gained custody of the boys and enrolled Matthew at Jefferson Elementary in Natomas.

It was in the Natomas home where he lived with his father, older brother and grandmother, that Matthew died Tuesday, allegedly at the hands of his father.

Local News

Boy Killed by Father Identified

Phillip Raymond Hernandez 36

Phillip Hernandez was arrested Wednesday morning in the death of his son.


A boy killed by his father in their Natomas home has been identified.

Matthew Hernandez, age 9, died around midnight. His father, Phillip Hernandez has been accused in the death.

Matthew attended Jefferson Elementary School. FOX40 found Police chaplains and grief counselors on campus Wednesday to talk to students.

Local News

Police: Father Used Hatchet to Kill Son

Phillip Raymond Hernandez 36

Phillip Hernandez was arrested Wednesday morning in the death of his son.


A father accused of killing his son in their Natomas home allegedly murdered the nine-year-old boy with a hatchet.

Investigators were called to the home early Wednesday morning and found the child dead inside. His father, Phillip Hernandez was found walking in the neighborhood.

Detectives are now saying it appears Hernandez went outside, grabbed a hatchet late Tuesday night, and broke through a sliding glass door.

He found his nine-year-old son asleep on the couch. A family member found Hernandez standing over the boy with the weapon, and tried to stop him. Hernandez pushed the person aside and attacked the boy.

Officers say there was a second son, who is 12 years old, living at the home. He is now with family.

The hatchet was recovered at the home. The boys’ mother was out of state and is currently on her way back to Sacramento.

Local News

Father Accused in Son’s Murder Identified


A 36-year-old man is under arrest, accused of killing his son in the middle of the night.

Investigators say Phillip Hernandez is responsible for the death of his son, who found inside the family’s Natomas home.

Officers were called to the home after two emergency calls around midnight. The nine-year-old boy was found dead, and had trauma to his head.

Hernandez was found a short time later wandering in the area.

“It’s just horrific, some of the detectives are having a hard time, and more importantly the family is just devastated. So we’re dealing with them, and getting them the resources they need,” said the investigator outside the home.

At this time, there has been no indication of any motive in the death. Hernandez was booked into the Sacramento jail for the charge of murder.

Police tapeNATOMAS -

A Natomas family is dealing with their nine-year-old boy dead and the father taken into custody early Wednesday morning.

A woman frantically called police twice around midnight, and they arrived to find the boy on the ground with head trauma.

The boy’s father was found by police walking around the neighborhood and was detained.

The investigation is ongoing and there’s no motive at this time.