In a 4-0-1 decision last week, the Colusa City Council voted to double the reward fund in the search for Salvador Garcia Jr., the 22-year-old Colusa man suspected of murdering his ex-girlfriend and leaving her body inside her parked car in a Woodland parking lot in January.
“Mayor, members of the council, this is something I was hoping we wouldn’t have to do. I was hoping that we’d have nabbed this guy already,” Police Chief Josh Fitch said before the vote. “What I’m asking for is for authorization for Jesse to add to the reward amount… to see if we can shake the bush a little bit, and if something will drop out… At this point it would be appropriate for us to put some skin in the game, up that reward a little bit, and see if we can’t have some success.”
Fitch said that he didn’t have much information on the case.
“The Marshal’s Service is working on this, and they don’t share non-information,” Fitch said. “They’re not going to call me and tell me they’re not finding anything. So, me not hearing from them indicates that… there’s nothing to say.”
The Colusa Police Department, in conjunction with the United States Marshal’s Office, had previously offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Garcia Jr., who is suspected of killing Karen Garcia, 21.
Mayor Greg Ponciano said that the doubling of the reward was “money well spent.” The vote was unanimous, with councilman Dave Markss recusing himself due to “his personal involvement with the case.”
Garcia Jr. hasn’t been seen since Saturday, Jan. 13, when he was present at a car tagging event in Williams. The event was held to raise awareness of Karen Garcia’s disappearance and to help bring her home.
Investigators believe that she was killed by Garcia Jr. on the day she was reported missing – Jan. 8 – which was the day after her sister and four other Colusa County residents were killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 5.
Karen Garcia’s body was found in her car nearly a week later on Jan. 14, in a parking lot of a Marshall’s store in Woodland. The Yolo County Coroner’s office determined that she died of multiple blunt-force trauma to the head. Investigators named Garcia Jr. as a suspect the night she was found, and have been searching for him since.
Officials believe that Garcia may have been driving a black 2011 Toyota Sienna van, with a license plate of 6NYB823. The vehicle was reported stolen to the Williams Police Department on Jan. 19. ■