Police investigators scout murder victim’s troubled history

Domestic issues with family draw law enforcement interest on case

The murder investigation into the shooting death of Faustino Garcia Garcia has police looking into his troubled past.

“We definitely factor everything going on with the victim in terms of understanding his activities prior to the body being discovered,” said Hood River District Attorney John Sewell.

On Wednesday, Sewell declined comment about the status of the investigation that began on Feb. 12 when Garcia’s body was found in a vacant lot off 17th Street, just north of the Hood River Middle School football field. But Hood River’s lead law enforcement official confirmed that police were aware of domestic problems between Garcia and both his wife and oldest daughter.

“In a homicide you want to know as much about the victim and the family circumstances as possible,” Sewell said.

Although the family reported that Garcia was missing after chasing a burglar away from their Eugene Street house in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 12, he had not been residing at the home for several months.

However, according to court reports, Garcia, 52, was forbidden by a restraining order from even being on the premises. Last September, both his wife, Rosario, and his daughter, Lupita, then 17, initiated court action against Garcia for assault. At that time he was ordered to enter a batterer’s treatment program and undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation. Although Rosario later dropped her restraining order, the directive to stay away from Lupita was still in full force when Garcia was at the residence on that fateful day. He also had restrictions placed on his visitation with another of his four children.

According to court records, Rosario claimed last fall that Garcia had also physically assaulted her in 1992 and was both emotionally and verbally abusive. In addition, she said her husband was so controlling that she was not allowed to have any friends.

Also in 1992, Garcia allegedly threatened to “kill or seriously injure” another Hood River woman and her children. That menacing case was later dropped because the message to the victim was reportedly delivered by a third party and not by Garcia himself. That same year Garcia settled out of court with his former employer, Western Power Products, on charges that he had stolen cleaning supplies.

The Garcia family was unable to be reached for comment.

About 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 12, Hood River County Detective Gerry Tiffany, while searching the neighborhood, found Garcia dead of gunshot wounds. No weapon was recovered at the scene and the area was thoroughly searched for any clue that might lead to the killer. Sewell is asking that anyone who was in the vicinity of 17th and Eugene streets between 4-6 a.m. on Feb. 12, or anyone who has any information to aid in the investigation, call Detective Andy Rau at the Hood River Police Department, 387-5251.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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