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Elena Sanchez Hawkins

A young mother is assaulted and killed by a potentially known assailant

  • Last updated: May 4, 2022
  • Elizabethtown, KY
  • January 8, 1992

Overview of Elena Sanchez Hawkins

It's been more than 30 years since Elena Sanchez Hawkins was murdered inside of her Kentucky home at the age of 29. Could a black truck lead to answers in her still-unsolved murder?

Elena Sanchez Hawkins was a young mother of two boys. She was known to keep to herself and was usually with her family or working as an attendant at a local gas station. Elena and her family lived in a small town in Elizabethtown, KY, which was approximately 45 minutes south of Louisville.

The day Elena was murdered

On the morning of January 8, 1992, Elena’s husband, Michael Hawkins, left early for work at a local convenience store. Elena was home with her two young boys. By 7 AM, Michael called Elena to make sure that their eldest son was awake and made the school bus. But no one answered, possibly because she was walking her eldest son to the bus stop.

Around 7:30 AM a neighbor recalls seeing an older model black Datsun pickup truck leaving Elena’s home. The truck can be described as having a short bed, no chrome, and a standard cab as well as “tie-down” hooks and a “metal” topper on the bed.

Source: Wikipedia

When she was discovered

By 10 AM, Michael calls again to make sure that their eldest son made the bus. Their 3 year old son answered the phone and told him “mommy’s bleeding”. Michael immediately rushed home and found his wife dead in the living room of their family home. Police were called promptly thereafter and would find no sign of forced entry. It is believed that Elena may have known her assailant. Before Elena was killed, she worked for a local gas station on West Dixie Avenue where she reported that a man gave her strange looks and made her feel uncomfortable.

When Elena’s body was discovered in her living room; it was noted that her throat was cut, her wrists bound and she was sexually assaulted prior to her death. Her cause of death was extreme blood loss. An investigation ensued, and her husband, Michael was cleared as a suspect very early in the process. Unfortunately, few leads surfaced and the case stalled.

Where the case stands today

Elena’s case remains unsolved. The most recent update revolves around a man named Ernest Pines. In August 2008, Pines was convicted of another similar crime in Breckinridge County; a woman was assaulted and her throat cut in her home. She pretended to be dead in hopes that Pines would leave before she was able to call for help. Pines had previously lived in Elizabethtown during the time of Elena’s attack. While Pines has been named a possible person of interest, it is unclear if he has been interviewed in connection to Elena’s case.

Is Ernest Pines connected to Elena’s murder? Are there other victims of Ernest Pines? Was he driving the Datsun pickup truck that morning? Have you seen the black Datsun truck in the Elizabethtown area?

Sadly, Elena’s husband passed away in 2004. But her family is still searching for answers. If you have any information please contact LT. Ezra Strout at 270-766-5078.


  1. Date of Death:January 8, 1992
  2. Birthday:September 3, 1962
  3. Age at Incident:29
  4. Race:Hispanic/Latino
  5. Gender:Female

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