- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By BOB WHITE
ELIZABETHTOWN – Following the rape and attempted murder Monday of a Breckinridge County woman, police reviewed a similar 1992 case that remains unsolved.
On Jan. 8 of that year the husband of Elena Sanchez Hawkins, a 29-year-old mother of two and gas station attendant, found her dead at their Bardstown Road home in Elizabethtown. Hawkins’ wrists had been bound, her throat cut and she was sexually assaulted.
The victim in Monday’s assault in Breckinridge County also was slashed repeatedly with a knife after being sexually assaulted. Former Elizabethtown resident Ernest D. Pine is jailed in Breckinridge County on a $1 million bond and has been charged with burglary, rape, sodomy and attempted murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Breckinridge District Court.
According to Kentucky State Police Post 4 Sgt. Jeremy Thompson, investigators alerted to similarities between the Hawkins and Monday assault cases reviewed the unsolved crime. If additional similarities surface that tie the two together police will pursue additional avenues later, Thompson said. As of Thursday no detectives had been assigned to reopen the 1992 case.
“Right now, we’re focused on the Hardinsburg case,” Thompson said. “We’ll work this case until it comes to a conclusion.”
Police responding to the Meadowview Lane crime scene Monday night around 9:30 p.m. made a quick arrest after finding suspect Pine at his home across the street from the victim.
Kentucky State Police detective Jason Propes said Pine forced his way into his neighbor’s home and raped her before cutting her with a knife multiple times. Other law enforcement officials say the woman was lucky to survive. She’s currently listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery at University Hospital in Louisville.
The victim’s infant grandchild also was at the home when the assault occurred, police said. The child was not injured.
Propes and other investigators of Monday’s crime remain tight-lipped about the details, but acknowledged similarities between 1992’s cold case and the new one.
Pine, a 58-year-old former Elizabethtown resident has no criminal record, according to Hardin County Court documents. A civil suit he filed against a manufacturer of industrial equipment in 1994 shows he lived in Elizabethtown at least between 1994-1998.
“It’s scary,” Propes, a Hardinsburg-area native, said. “You just don’t think about something like this happening around here.”
Police are asking that anyone with information about the cold case contact Post 4 detectives at (270) 766-5077.
A synopsis of the Hawkins case can be viewed at www.kentuckystatepolice.org/cold_case.htm.
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.