It was right under their noses. On January 17, 1981, 20-year-old Rachel Zendejas hired a babysitter to look after her two daughters as she left for a night out. Back at her home in Oxnard, north of Los Angeles, this single mother takes the babysitter home. But just after dropping off the young woman, she was allegedly assaulted as she joined her car. His body was eventually found by two delivery men the next morning. The autopsy will determine that she died after being raped and strangled.
A few months later, on December 12, 1981, Lisa Gondek, a 21-year-old young woman, was brought back to her home in Oxnard at night by friends. She spent the evening in the same bar as the one where Rachel Zendejas had gone in January. But around 3 a.m., her neighbor discovers that the young woman’s home is on fire. The firefighters will then discover the lifeless body of Lisa Gondek in her bathtub. The autopsy will determine that she was the victim of strangulation.
DNA found, but impossible to identify the killer
For many years, the investigators will try to drill the case, but it is only in 2004 that a link between the two feminicides is established. Indeed, the DNA profile of the murderer found on the two victims is identical. However, it is currently impossible to determine the identity of the killer.
But over the years there have been significant advances in DNA genealogy research, allowing investigators to discover who the killer of the two women was. And surprise, because the latter had never fled or hidden, because he still lived in the area of his murders committed 40 years earlier.
The man named Tony Garcia is a 68-year-old Navy veteran and karate instructor. He was arrested on Tuesday February 7 and charged with the two murders. “The fact is, this suspect has been hiding in plain sight for over 40 years,” Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff said at a press conference on Thursday, February 9.
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