A Southern California man has been charged with murdering two women in 1981, prosecutors said Thursday, according to DNA evidence.
Oxnard’s Tony Garcia, 68, appeared in court, but his arraignment was postponed until February 23, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer representing him.
Garcia, a Navy veteran and former martial arts teacher, is accused of kidnapping, raping, and strangling Rachel Zendejas, 20, in Camarillo in January 1981 and strangling Lisa Gondok, 21, in Oxnard in December 1981. indicted.
Zendejas said he was found dead in his Camarillo car garage and Gondek was found dead in a bathtub after the fire in his Oxnard apartment.
After decades of living a few miles from the scene of the crime, Garcia has finally been linked to the murders, officials said.
“The fact is, this suspect has been in hiding for over 40 years,” Ventura County Sheriff Jim Freihoff said at a news conference Thursday.
In 2004, investigators determined that the same person had killed two women, but were unable to confirm a DNA match in law enforcement databases.
Garcia was identified as a suspect in 2019 after investigators in the unsolved case turned to genealogical DNA comparing crime scene DNA with commercial databases that may contain profiles submitted by the perpetrator’s relatives, officials said. rice field.
Garcia is charged with two counts of murder and the specific allegation that they were multiple murders, one involving kidnapping and rape. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.
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