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Police investigate homicide

First murder in city of Hood River since 1995

No weapon has been found and no suspects identified in the gunshot murder of Faustino Garcia Garcia, whose body was found Wednesday morning in a vacant lot next to Hood River Middle School.

Officers and detectives combed the grassy lot looking for clues Wednesday and Thursday following the discovery of Garcia’s body, just two blocks from his home on West Eugene Street.

“There’s no reason to believe this will not be solved,” John Sewell, Hood River County District Attorney, said Thursday. However, one of the least clear parts of the investigation is Garcia’s exact movements after 4:30 a.m. when the family said he left the house to chase a burglar. Sewell declined to reveal what time Garcia died nor the weapon type and how many times Garcia was shot.

“The status of the investigation is on-going. We are talking to everyone who was acquainted with the deceased, and that takes some time.”

Garcia, 52, had four children and one granddaughter. A fund has been established at Columbia River Bank to assist the family. (Please turn to page A7 for details.) Garcia worked as main supervisor at Power Design in Odell.

Sewell said several police and sheriff’s detectives are working full time on the investigation, which started with a thorough combing of the site by deputies and police officers.

Blood samples and footprints castings were taken, according to Sewell.

“It’s a well-traveled area,” Sewell said Thursday. “It’s hard to say if the footprints were left by anyone connected with the case, but they’re there so you take them.”

Sewell said anyone who was in the area of 18th and Eugene streets between 4 and 6 a.m., or who has any possible information to aid in the investigation, may call Detective Andy Rau at Hood River Police Department, 387-5251.

The murder was the first in Hood River County since the June 2001 killing of Eric Tamiyasu. In the city of Hood River, the most recent murder victim was Sateva Marie Bawdon, 15, on March 22, 1995. Bawdon was murdered on 18th Street, just three blocks from where Garcia was found.

Garcia’s body was found in the early morning hours of Jan. 12 in a vacant lot off 17th Street, just north of the Hood River Middle School football field.

The body was found at 7:30 a.m., by Sheriff’s Detective Gerry Tiffany after Garcia’s family had reported him missing.

The family notified authorities that Garcia had left the house at about 4:30 a.m. to chase down what he believed to be a burglar, and did not return. The family also called Garcia’s employer, Eric Cederstam, who said Garcia’s non-appearance at work was “totally out of character.” Cederstam described Garcia as the hardest-working man he knows.

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