Charges dropped in shooting after victim can’t be found

Prosecutors were forced to dismiss charges against a Winchester man for a 2018 shooting when the victim could not be found.

Ernesto Batiz, 35, of 48 Jackson St., was charged with first-degree assault for the Sept. 11, 2018, incident.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heidi Engel they could not proceed with the case because the victim, identified by police as 48-year-old Pablo Hernandez, could not be found.

“We have used every means available to locate him,” Engel said. “It happens on rare occasions. It’s unfortunate but there’s nothing we could do about it.”

The single charge of first-degree assault was dismissed without prejudice, which means it could be reinstated should Hernandez be located.

Police said the shooting occurred following an argument in Batiz’s apartment. While officers were called to Washington and Jackson streets, they followed a blood trail back to Batiz’s apartment.

Officers found Batiz in a bed with the handgun used in the shooting, and police said Batiz corroborated Hernandez’s account of the incident.