Ten days after the body of a missing Colusa woman was found in Woodland, and her recent ex-boyfriend and the father of her two-year-old child was named as a suspect in her murder, law enforcement officials are still searching for Salvador Garcia Jr.
“Where we’re at since you’ve last reported is we’ve identified a vehicle reported stolen out of Williams that we believe may be associated with him,” said Colusa Police Chief Josh Fitch. “The information has been posted on electronic billboards throughout the state.”
Fitch announced on Monday that the U.S. Marshals Service had committed to assist local law enforcement in locating and apprehending Garcia.
“They have expertise in fugitive apprehension, and they’ve come in to help us get this case resolved and get him into custody,” Fitch said. “In my opinion, these guys are the best in the business at doing this and we’re happy to have them.”
Fitch added that there is currently a U.S. Marshal presence in the county, and investigators are continuing to search locally, and following any leads outside the county as well.
“We’re actively following every lead that is called in,” Fitch said.
Last week, the Yolo County Coroner’s Office announced the cause of death in the murder of Karen Garcia as blunt force trauma.
“The cause of death is blunt force injuries of the head,” said Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Gina Moya. “That’s injuries, plural… caused by a blunt object.”
Fitch said that investigators have been unable to identify the weapon used in the crime, and that the autopsy had not yielded an answer, either.
In the course of their investigation, officers interviewed a cousin of Garcia Jr., who said he picked the 22-year-old up from Woodland on Monday, Jan. 8, sometime around 8 PM, Fitch said.
“When he was interviewed, he didn’t appear to have any intimate knowledge of the crime,” said Fitch. “He simply provided a ride from the general vicinity of where the vehicle was left – he didn’t see the car.”
Karen Garcia’s sister, Jessica, was among five young Colusa County residents killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 5 on Jan. 7. Karen was reported missing after she didn’t show up on the following day for her sister’s vigil.
Officers served a search warrant on Friday, Jan. 12, at a residence on the 400-block of Oak Street in Colusa, which was shared by Karen and Salvador Garcia. The search warrant turned up blood evidence. Officers later found blood in Salvador Garcia’s car – which they took possession of on Jan. 13 – connecting him to the crime.
Investigators are still awaiting the DNA test results on the blood to confirm whether it was Karen Garcia’s, and it could be some time before they receive those.
“We’ve been bumped by the Department of Justice,” Fitch said. “Cases with no suspect take precedence. It might be a month or better.”
Karen Garcia was found dead in her car at around 3:45 PM on Jan. 14, in a parking lot between Marshalls and CVS Pharmacy in Woodland, after a third party reported that they had found a vehicle with a license plate matching that of Karen’s. ■