To do this he needed money, so he turned to stealing jewelry. First he stole a pair of earrings from his sister, Gabi that her boyfriend Will Horton had given her, then later a necklace from Melanie Layton that her mother, Carly Manning had just given her.
Dario arrived in Salem on March 9, 2011 with an agenda: to solve his sister’s murder. A feat his older brother and former FBI agent, Rafe Hernandez, and the Salem PD had been unable to achieve, allowing the case to go cold.
Melanie a former petty criminal and con artist herself recognized Dario’s amateur moves and called Dario on it. Sprung, Dario tried to grab Melanie and threaten her, but Brady Black happened along and saved Melanie. Together Melanie and Brady dragged Dario to the police station. Gabi and Will who were there to report the theft of her earrings say Dario brought in and Gabi and Dario launched into an immediate family argument.
But Gabi’s beef with Dario (not turning up to their sister Adrianna’s funeral) took second billing when Rafe entered and seemed not to recognize Dario. (EJ and Stefano had replaced the real Rafe with a doppelganger).
Dario proceeded with trying to solve Arianna’s murder. While meeting with Justin for the names of reputable private eye’s (who don’t come cheap Justin advised), Dario overheard his meeting with his next client – Melanie Layton. Justin informed her that Philip Kiriakis was endowing her with an additional $5 million dollars on top of their divorce settlement, so that she would never have to worry about money again.
Dario, a dockworker and bartender at the Cheatin Heart, too thought his money problems (for hiring PI’s) were now over. He used guilt to convince Melanie to help with his investigation (Arianna was Melanie’s best friend). Melanie posted a reward for information on Arianna’s death by a hit and run driver.
The reward achieved its purpose. Melanie was attacked – twice – once at the pier, where Dario came to the rescue, but the attacker got away, and another time in Daniel Jonas’ apartment (where Melanie was staying after his miscarriage and divorce). Dario again saved the day, this time pummeling the attacker into a coma.
In the hospital, Brady recognized the attacker as Troy, a drug dealer who had worked for EJ during the time that Arianna also worked for EJ as a drug dealer, albeit undercover for the Salem PD. The realization that EJ was responsible for Arianna’s death led Brady to beat EJ to within inches of his life.
Melanie interrupted the attack and called Dario for help. Dario reluctantly covered for Brady and more importantly to him, Melanie.
Once Arianna’s murder was solved, Dario didn’t leave town, he’d started to have feelings for Melanie. Melanie too had softened towards the petty thief on a mission, but Brady Black who was also protective of Melanie did not think Dario a suitable match for Melanie. Melanie fresh off a divorce from Philip allowed Dario to think there was something going on between her and Brady, so she could avoid her growing feelings for the young Hernandez.
Brady claiming that he and Dario had gotten off on the wrong foot offered Dario an entry level position (gopher) at Titan that involved frequent overtime. Melanie thought Brady was just trying to keep Dario away from her and called Brady on it several times.
Dario’s efforts did not go unrewarded. He was offered a promotion within the Titan Empire to a job in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Though saddened by Dario’s departure, Melanie wished Dario all the best in his new life. Dario left Salem on September 21, 2011.