Woman, 40, Being Held For Murder & Carjacking After Apparent Lam Attempt To Mexico

Daniella Hess Prieto has gotten herself into a mess of trouble.
Previously, her affinity for methamphetamine had complicated her life. Nevertheless, her previous run-ins with the law generally extended to simple possession of drugs charges, primarily misdemeanors.
Earlier this year things escalated somewhat when she was arrested on a charge of maintaining premises where drugs were sold or could be obtained.
Now she is charged with capital murder. The circumstance of her arrest would seem to indicate she was making a dash for the border, and was about to go underground in Mexico.
Now 40 years old, Daniella Maria Hess Prieto has been somewhat itinerant, moving around to different locations mostly in San Bernardino County, departing for a different locale when elements of her lifestyle have caught up with her. Most recently, she was living in Wonder Valley, having gone there after she was accused of running a drug house in Big Bear.
Over the weekend, when members of her family had not heard from her, even after several attempts to reach her by phone, one of those family members contacted the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station, requesting that a welfare check on her be carried out. Deputies were dispatched to her latest known residence in the 7000 block of Nablee Road in Wonder Valley around 8:36 a.m. Sunday morning. As the deputies came up on the residence, they discovered a man, later identified as 56-year-old Gary Simrak of Wonder Valley, lying in the road. Simrak had sustained a gunshot wound and could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
When deputies sought to raise Hess Prieto at her residence, she was not there.
Homicide investigators who were summoned in short order came to the conclusion that she was involved in Simrak’s death. They obtained a warrant for her arrest on suspicion of murder. An all-points bulletin was issued for her.
In Chula Vista in San Diego County, an officer on patrol around 4:45 a.m. Tuesday August 9 was alerted by his in-vehicle electronic license plate reader that a vehicle at that point associated with Hess Prieto was parked proximate to the Motel 6 on E Street. The car was unoccupied. Officers with the department determined that Hess Prieto had checked into the motel.
Concerned that she might be armed, Chula Vista police surrounded the hotel and called in the department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team. Hess Prieto was taken into custody, according to the department, “without incident.” She was handed over to San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies. She was originally taken to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters and Administration Building at 655 E. 3rd Street in San Bernardino. She has since been booked into the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, where she is being held without bail on suspicion of murder and carjacking. She is to appear in Morongo Superior Court in Joshua Tree on August 15.

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