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Santa Fe police find bones possibly related to 1952 missing person case

SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe police dug up a garage floor this week and found bones that may be those of a woman who went missing and was possibly murdered in 1952.

Inez Garcia, then about 27, was reported missing by her husband in 1952. He told police that the couple were drinking at a bar on Water Street and afterward she jumped out of their vehicle, police spokesman Celina Westervelt said. ‘She was never, ever, ever found,” Westerfelt said.The husband, Juan Andres Jose Garcia, is now deceased.

Police got permission to dig in a garage on the 500 block of Onate Street, off Auga Fria. They started digging on Friday and Tuesday they found bone fragments, possibly from a tibia (shin bone) and forearm bone, and sent them to the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque, said Westervelt.


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Those bones will now be sent to a lab in Texas to confirm they are human and to check DNA, which could take up to two months, she said.

Two detectives from the Street Crimes Unit took the lead in the excavation, digging mostly by hand, but a backhoe was also used.

Authorities also brought in a cadaver dog last week from the Bernallio County Sheriff’s Office and the dog “hit a couple of different times in different areas” of the garage, said Westervelt.

Inez Garcia’s four children told police she would never just leave and not come back. “There were lots of rumors that he (the husband) buried her in the dirt floor,” said Westervelt.

“Family members said that Garcia would have never left her kids,” said added. The husband reportedly would not let people near the garage, she said. Only one female daughter is believed to be alive and she lives in northern New Mexico. A DNA swab was obtained from her for comparison to any DNA obtained from the bones, according to Westervelt.

The home changed hands in 1996 and after reports that dogs were hanging around the area the homeowners found two large bones. Police checked the garage at that time and those bones turned out to be of animal, said Westervelt.

Detectives recently were going over old cold cases and “the detective thought we should poke around in the garage again,” said Westervelt.

Renter James Douglas, who does body work on cars, said police contacted him about digging a couple of months ago. He has lived in the building, which contains about three apartments, for 20 years.

Asked what he thought about a body possibly being buried under the garage floor for decades, he said, “I really don’t, I really don’t know. When I saw the bones they didn’t even look like human bones.”

A neighbor said a city worker came by last week and asked about the garage. “No city sewer” is spray painted in green in front of the garage.