Tony Garcia Wiki -Tony Garcia Biography
A Navy veteran and karate instructor from Southern California was “hiding in plain sight” for more than 40 years before DNA evidence linked him to the 1981 strangled murders of two women, authorities said. Tony Garcia, 68, was charged Thursday with two counts of first degree murder. He is accused of kidnapping, raping and strangling 20-year-old Rachel Zendejas in Camarillo in January 1981 and strangling 21-year-old Lisa Gondek in Oxnard in December of that year.
Garcia, of Oxnard, appeared in court, but his arraignment continued until February 23, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. Tony Garcia, 68, was arrested in California on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with cold cases from 1981.
Tony Garcia Age
Tony Garcia is 77 years old.
Zendejas, a single mother of two, was found dead in a driveway on Mobile Avenue in Camarillo after going out to Huntington’s Night Club. She is believed to have been attacked after bringing home her daughters’ nannies. Zendejas, the youngest of five children, was taking industrial arts classes at a nearby community college to improve her life and the lives of her daughters, Eva and Monica, Ventura County Police Chief Jim Fryhoff said at a conference in press on Thursday.
Lisa Gondek, 21, was found strangled in a bathtub in Oxnard, California, in December 1981. Eleven months later, Gondek was found strangled in a bathtub after an apartment fire on Gonzales Road in Oxnard, authorities said. Investigators believed that Gondek was murdered after spending time in the same club as Zendejas.
Gondek had recently moved to California from Connecticut and was working in retail. Garcia, a longtime martial arts instructor, lived for decades just a few miles from the crime scene until he was finally linked to the slayings, authorities said. “The fact is that this suspect has been hiding in plain sight for more than 40 years,” Fryhoff said. In 2004, investigators determined that the same person killed the women, but could not find a DNA match in a police database.
Authorities said Garcia became a suspect in 2019 after cold case investigators turned to genealogy DNA, which compares crime scene DNA to commercial databases that could include profiles submitted by relatives of the killer. Garcia is charged with two counts of murder with special charges that they were multiple murders and that one involved kidnapping and rape.
The District Attorney’s Office has not decided whether he will seek the death penalty or life without parole. “After more than four decades, justice is finally coming to the families of Rachel Zendejas and Lisa Gondek,” said Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko. “As this case demonstrates, murder charges can be filed at any time and there is no statute of limitations for murder.”
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