An autopsy determined that her death was caused by compression injuries to her neck

By Christine Pelisek
November 04, 2019 04:01 PM
Michael Gaffney
Bergen County Prosecutor's Office

A New Jersey man has been charged with reckless manslaughter in connection with the death of a 19-year-old woman who allegedly died from being choked during sex with him.

Michael T. Gaffney, 21, was arrested and charged after Francis Victoria Garcia was found unresponsive in the rear seat of her car on the top level of a parking garage on Prospect Avenue in Hackensack after 2 a.m. Saturday.

Garcia, 19, was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy determined that her death was caused by compression injuries to her neck.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by police and obtained by PEOPLE, Gaffney told investigators he knew Garcia through mutual friends and had communicated over social media with her in the last week.

“Gaffney and Garcia made plans to hang out with those friends as a group on the evening of [Nov.1],” the affidavit states.

That night, Garcia allegedly picked up Gaffney at his home and along with two friends went to the apartment of another friend who lived on Prospect Avenue.

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“At some point during the evening, Gaffney and Garcia went to her car to hang out,” the affidavit states. “There, the two engaged in sexual intercourse for approximately 20 minutes. At some point, Gaffney placed his hands around Garcia’s neck. She subsequently lost consciousness.”

According to the affidavit, at some point, Gaffney contacted his friends at the apartment and allegedly informed them that Garcia wasn’t breathing. A male friend went to the parking lot and saw that her lips were purple and “could feel air coming out of her nose.”

The medical examiner determined that Garcia had a blood-alcohol level of .256, according to the affidavit.

Gaffney, who is being held at the Bergen County Jail without bond, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. It is unclear if he has entered a plea.

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