Diana Alvarez’s mom clings to hope after disturbing revelation

Documents that raise the notion her missing daughter was murdered nearly devastated Rita Hernandez.

“I got on my knees and asked God to tell me what this man said isn’t true,” Hernandez said.

The documents detail an interview between Lee County Sheriff’s detectives and Juan Laverde, an inmate who spent time in jail with Jorge Guerrero, the only suspect in the May 29, 2016 disappearance of San Carlos Park girl Diana Alvarez.

Laverde told the detectives Guerrero said, “They’ll never find her on their own,” and, “She is gone,” and asked, “How much prison time he would get for the murder charge.”

The interview took place last year, but Guerrero hasn’t been charged with murder. Instead, the sheriff’s office is pursuing charges of lewd or lascivious molestation and battery of a child against him as he appeals his conviction of producing and possessing lewd images of Diana.

Attorney Tom Busatta, who represents Diana’s family, believes there may not be enough evidence for prosecutors to bring a murder charge.

“You only get one bite at the apple,” he said. “Why put forward a homicide charge if you’re not sure if you can prove without a reasonable doubt?”

A body isn’t necessary for a murder conviction, according to Walt Zalisko, a private investigator hired by the family.

Regardless, Hernandez isn’t going to give up hope until she knows for sure.

“Until we have concrete evidence to prove what this man says is true or not, I believe my daughter is alive,” she said.