It’s been a heartbreaking couple of weeks for the Williams community: first, five young adults with bright futures were killed in an accident with a wrong-way driver; then there was the search for the missing sister of one of the car crash victims; then that woman was found dead, murdered, and her suspected killer still at large.
Colusa and area law enforcement continues their search for Salvador Garcia Jr., the suspected murderer of his ex-girlfriend Karen Garcia. Officers received a report of a stolen vehicle in Williams and suspect Salvador Garcia Jr. is using it. The public is asked to keep a lookout for a black 2011 Toyota Sienna van with license plate number 6NYB823. If seen, contact police at 458-7777.
Here’s a review of the news:
• Jan. 7: Five Williams residents were killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 5 near Woodland, according to California Highway Patrol. The victims were: Cristhian Lopez Cambron, 25; Raquel Lopez Valencia, 21; Yaneth Lopez Cambron, 19; Kristian Macias Paiz, 23; and Jessica Garcia Romero, 19.
• Jan. 8: Karen Garcia Romero, 21, of Williams is missing. Her sister was Jessica Garcia, one of the victims in the Interstate 5 crash the day prior. This was the last day friends or family had contact with Karen Garcia, the mother of a 2-year-old daughter.
Linda Quintero, Karen Garcia’s best friend and neighbor, received a text message from Karen that said she was shopping in Roseville and would be home late. Karen Garcia’s message also said she needed to blow off some steam to deal with her sister’s death. Karen Garcia’s purse and wallet were left in Quintero’s apartment. Quintero then stopped receiving messages from Karen Garcia.
• Jan. 9: Karen Garcia’s family and friends notified police of her disappearance. The Williams Police Department notified authorities in Roseville, Vacaville and Colusa County agencies, to keep an eye out for Karen Garcia. The investigation was officially dubbed a missing person’s case.
• Jan. 10-11: Police continued to search for Karen Garcia and her car. Quintero and Karen Garcia’s family passed out flyers in Roseville to spread the word on her disappearance.
• Jan. 12: Williams and Colusa police officers searched the apartment of Salvador Garcia Jr. – Karen Garcia’s ex-boyfriend, and father of her child–and found traces of blood inside the residence. Police were unable to hold Salvador Garcia Jr. because they couldn’t prove he was connected to the blood.
Police discovered Karen Garcia and Salvador Garcia Jr. had recently broken up, but she occasionally stayed at the apartment so they could both take care of their daughter. Officers learned Salvador Garcia Jr. had been charged with domestic violence and battery on Dec. 29 in Colusa County Superior Court. Karen Garcia was the victim in the case.
• Jan. 13: Police impounded Salvador Garcia Jr.’s car to search for evidence.
• Jan. 14: Karen Garcia’s body was found inside her car in a Woodland parking lot.
While searching Salvador Garcia Jr.’s car, investigators found traces of blood; samples were sent to the Department of Justice to determine if the blood belonged to Karen Garcia. Police attempted to bring Salvador Garcia Jr. in for questioning, but he could not be found.
• Jan. 17: The Yolo County Coroner’s Office determined Karen Garcia was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators were unable to determine a murder weapon, but the coroner said autopsy results showed she had been dead for more than a day when she was found inside her car in Woodland.
Colusa law enforcement revealed officers had possession of two cell phones belonging to Salvador Garcia Jr. and Karen Garcia. The department issued search warrants to the cell phone companies to obtain messages on both phones.
• Jan. 18: Police had no leads for Salvador Garcia Jr.’s whereabouts.
• Jan. 19: Colusa law enforcement received a report of a stolen vehicle in Williams; officers suspect Salvador Garcia Jr. is using it. The public is asked to keep an eye out for a 2011 Toyota Sienna – a black van with license plate number 6NYB823. If seen, contact police at 458-7777.