The man suspected of murdering Colusa County resident Karen Garcia a year and a half ago was apprehended last week by the U.S. Marshals Service after being located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Salvador Garcia Jr. was turned over to the Colusa County Task Force at about 11 p.m. on Saturday night, said Colusa Chief of Police Joshua Fitch.
Fitch said he was informed by the U.S. Marshals on Thursday night that they had Garcia Jr. in their custody but information about his capture was not released until after Garcia Jr. was booked into the Colusa County Jail for security reasons.
“We are very thankful for all the assistance we got from surrounding agencies, especially the Marshals who never gave up on their pursuit of him,” Fitch said on Monday.
On Jan. 9, 2018, Karen Garcia was reported missing by her family and had last been seen on Jan. 8.
During the investigation into Karen Garcia’s disappearance, a search warrant was issued for the residence Karen shared Salvador Garcia Jr.’s in Colusa, where investigators found a substantial amount of blood, according to archives. Garcia Jr.’s car was also searched and additional blood was found in the vehicle.
That evidence, coupled with the pair’s tumultuous relationship, made Garcia Jr. the prime suspect in the case.
On Jan. 14, 2018, Karen Garcia’s body was found inside a car in a parking lot in Woodland – an autopsy revealed that the cause of her death was blunt force trauma.
Garcia Jr. was questioned by law enforcement prior to the search warrant but was believed to have fled the area shortly after. A stolen Toyota van believed to be driven by Garcia Jr. was located near the U.S.-Mexico border in October.
“It was not long after the disappearance of Salvador Garcia Jr. the U.S. Marshals Service reached out to local law enforcement to provide their services,” read a press release issued by the Colusa Police Department.
Other agencies including 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 the over a year-long investigation.
“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 year-long investigation,” it was stated in the press release.
Tootie Hackett, founder and president of Karen’s House, said dealing with the surprise of the arrest has been a hard but happy time.
“It brings up a lot of mixed emotions,” said Hackett, who has been close to Karen’s family for many years. “This will definitely rehash a lot of things but it’s amazing. I’m so happy for Karen and now we can get some justice for her.”
Hackett established Karen’s House – Colusa County’s first domestic violence program – in April 2018 after Karen Garcia’s death, to offer resources and help to those in domestic violence situations like Karen Garcia.
“I spoke with Ana, Karen’s sister, and they are so grateful for all of those that have kept hope alive and kept the word going,” Hackett said.
Garcia Jr. was charged with murder in the Colusa Superior Court on Monday and appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon for arraignment.