Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office found a man dead from a gunshot wound on farmland outside of Independence on Sunday and later learned he was the suspect of a burglary that occurred the night before.
Investigators connected Hernandez Mendoza and the farm truck to an overnight burglary and theft at the 1000 block of Independence Highway, which they discovered earlier Sunday morning. Several firearms were stolen from the residence, among other items.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported that Hernandez Mendoza entered the house on Independence Highway and stole several items. He then allegedly left the scene on foot to hide the stolen property before returning in a stolen farm truck.
He entered the home a second time to take more items.
Evidence suggested that Hernandez Mendoza accidentally shot himself while he was driving away from the scene with the rifle he had just taken from the residence.