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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