Suspected murderer apprehended

Salvador Vaca Garcia was arrested on the suspicion of murder of Karen Garcia. (Note: Salvador's name has been updated from Garcia Jr.)

Salvador Garcia Jr., 23, the suspected murderer of Karen Garcia, was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service after being located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Salvador Jr. was turned over to the Colusa County Task Force early morning on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, and was booked into the Colusa County Jail.

“The law enforcement agencies of Colusa County would like to give thanks to the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance as well as to all who helped throughout this over a yearlong investigation,” said Colusa’s Police Chief, Josh Fitch.

Salvador Jr. had been on the run since he was last seen on Jan. 13, 2018, writing “Bring Karen Home’ on vehicles at a car-tagging event in Williams. He is suspected of killing Karen on Jan. 8, 2018, inside their Colusa apartment where the couple had been raising their 2-year-old daughter.

According to Fitch, the couple had split up prior to her disappearance. The breakup was preceded by a domestic violence incident in December of 2017 where Karen was the victim in the case. 

The body of Karen Garcia was later found on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in Woodland, where the Yolo County Coroner’s Office announced the cause of death as blunt force trauma. 

Timeline of events:

On Jan. 8, 2018, the 21-year-old Karen Garcia, was reported missing by her family to the Williams Police Department after she failed to show for her sister’s funeral. It was said Karen and her vehicle were last seen at about noon the day prior to her disappearance.

While the community and nation were searching for Karen, officers and investigators from multiple county agencies served a search warrant at an apartment in Colusa shared by Karen and Salvador, in the 400-block of Oak Street.

On Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, a search of the residence turned up evidence of a homicide, law enforcement officials said in a statement. A bloodstain was found at the apartment, and blood stains were later found in Salvador’s vehicle, connecting him to the crime, said Colusa Police Chief Josh Fitch.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, during a community car-tagging event, Salvador Jr. was last seen writing “Bring Karen Home” on vehicles.

It was not long after the disappearance of Salvador Jr., the U.S. Marshals Service reached out to local law enforcement to provide their services. 

On Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, an unidentified third party said they had located a vehicle with a license plate matching that of Karen’s in the parking lot between the Marshalls and CVS Pharmacy at 45 West Main St. in Woodland. Karen’s body was discovered inside the vehicle.

A few days following, 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.”

The first major break in the case was on Jan. 19, 2018 when officials announced they were looking for a reported stolen, 2011 Toyota Sienna van. As was previously reported in this publication, the Pioneer Review learned through a since-sealed search warrant that the van belonged to Rafael Jauregui Velazquez, who is married to Salvador Jr.’s aunt, Veronica Vaca Alexander. According to statement of probable cause for the search warrant, Velazquez reported the van stolen to the Williams Police Department and told investigators that he had returned home from a trip to Mexico to discover the van was missing, along with the keys.

The van was found near Tijuana in August 2018, and law enforcement believed Salvador Jr. used the vehicle to make his escape. 

Since this time, the U.S. Marshals Service have been working diligently to locate Salvador Jr., officials said.

“Several agencies including local law enforcement as well as the Riverside Police Department, Sacramento County District Attorney Office, Government of Mexico Fiscalia General de Jalisco-Grupo De Ordenes y Apprensiones and the Instituto Nacional de Migracion have assisted the Marshals with over a yearlong investigation,” said Chief Fitch. “The resources and experience the U.S. Marshals Service brought to the investigation which resulted in the apprehension of Salvador Garcia Jr. should not go unnoticed.” ■

Lloyd Green Jr. is the Owner and Publisher of the Williams Pioneer Review. He is dedicated in publishing the news and informing the community of Colusa County. Lloyd has been with the publication since 2008, and purchased the business in 2010. Under his ownership the newspaper has grown significantly in subscriptions, publishes weekly, and obtained the title of Newspaper of General Circulation by the Superior Court of Colusa County in Sept. 2017. Lloyd is also the director of advertising, classified manager, legal notice clerk, and circulation manager. To contact Lloyd, email him at or call (530) 458-4141 ext. 100.