Salvador Garcia-Vaca, the man accused of murdering Williams native Karen Garcia in 2018, has been incarcerated at the Colusa County Jail for almost a month now.
After a year and a half on the run, Garcia-Vaca was tracked down and arrested by the United States Marshals before being extradited to California on Aug. 3.
Not much was know about his time on the run in the days after his extradition, but the U.S. Marshals have since release some of the details regarding his time in Mexico as well as his capture.
Dave Oney, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Marshals, said Garcia-Vaca fled to Baja California Norte at an unknown date and time where he stayed until approximately March 2019.
“Garcia then fled to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico where he was living under the alias of Julian Munoz Gallo,” Oney said.
Oney did not release information about how the U.S. Marshals were able to track down Garcia-Vaca during his time on the run but he did say Garcia was arrested in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico as he was walking toward a corner store located on Monte Blanco Street in Guadalajara. Garcia was not armed at the time of arrest, said Oney.
Oney said Garcia-Vaca was believed to be residing with family in a residence located in Colonia Lomas Independencia, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Oney did not say if any family members will be facing charges for housing Garcia-Vaca while on the run.
Oney said fugitives who flee to Mexico are located and arrested by the Government of Mexico on behalf of the United States, usually through a Provisional Arrest Warrant.
“The U.S. has a longstanding diplomatic relationship with the Government of Mexico,” Oney said. “Like most countries, once fugitives are apprehended they are removed in accordance with the Extradition Treaty and or through Deportation.”
Colusa Chief of Police Josh Fitch said he was informed of Garcia-Vaca’s arrest on Aug. 1 and he was turned over to the Colusa County Task Force at about 11 p.m. on Aug. 3.
While Fitch said the U.S. Marshals don’t reveal their investigative techniques to him either, he is grateful for all the help they provided.
“I do know that they never gave up on the case and expended thousands of man-hours following up and working to locate him,” Fitch said. “They are the best in the business when it comes to tracking people and we are grateful for all of their assistance.”
Now in custody, Garcia-Vaca will face murder charges in addition to outstanding domestic violence and battery charges resulting from a December 2017 incident. According to Sun-Herald archives, Fitch confirmed the victim in this case was also Karen Garcia – the suspect’s ex-girlfriend and mother of their now 2-year-old child who lives with family out of state.
After disappearing on Jan. 8, 2018 Karen Garcia was found dead in a parked car in a Woodland shopping center parking lot and an autopsy later determined she had died from blunt force trauma.
Garcia-Vaca was questioned by police at the time of Karen Garcia’s disappearance, and was cooperative at first.
During that investigation, a search warrant was issued for the residence Karen Garcia shared with Garcia-Vaca in Colusa, where investigators found a substantial amount of blood, according to archives. Garcia-Vaca’s car was also searched and additional blood was found in the vehicle.
According to archives, Garcia-Vaca is believed to have fled to Mexico around the time the search warrant was issued, driving a Toyota van that was reported stolen in Colusa County. The vehicle was found abandoned near the U.S.-Mexico border in October 2018.
Garcia-Vaca appeared in a Colusa County Courtroom on Aug. 6 for arraignment. While his private attorney, Michael C. Smith, said they are still sifting through the large amount of discovery items compiled by law enforcement, Smith said he and his client feel confident to move forward with a not guilty plea when the time comes to enter a plea.
Garcia-Vaca is scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 9 for a preliminary hearing. Due to the severity of the charges, Garcia-Vaca will remain incarcerated at the Colusa County Jail without bail.