Fifty years after the Santa Fe New Mexican published a story about a mom of four who “abruptly dropped out of sight … and has not been seen since,” cold case detectives finally appear to have solved the case.
After a trained cadaver dog alerted police to two spots in the dirt floor of a single-car garage at the house where Inez Garcia, her husband and their four children lived in the 1950s, detectives discovered a handful of bone fragments, some of which were charred.
Although it will take several weeks for the remains to be identified, detectives have good reasons to believe the remains are Garcia’s, and that she was buried there by her now-deceased husband, Juan Andres Jose Garcia.
Police say there was always suspicion that Juan Garcia buried his wife under the garage.
“When Garcia lived in the home, no one was ever allowed to enter that garage, and he spent much of his time inside,” says a police statement issued Friday. “There were also rumors of strange smells coming from the structure and reports of dogs who tried many times to dig their way inside.”
When Juan Garcia, who was born in 1912, died in the 1990s, the home was sold and the structure was divided into three apartments. In 1996, police went to the property when the new owners found two bones in the garage, but those turned out to be from a horse and a cow. It’s not clear why police didn’t dig up the garage at the time.
Garcia is now considered a person of interest in a possible homicide according to the Albuquerque Journal.
DNA from the bone fragments, believed to be from a tibia and forearm, will be compared to a DNA swab obtained from one of Garcia s two surviving daughters, now in her 60s, who lives in northern New Mexico, the Journal reported. The women were 5 years old, and nine months old, when their mother died.
“We’ve kept her up-to-date on how the investigation is going,” police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt told the Journal. “We don’t want to give her a false sense of hope in any way; we just want to be open and active with that.”