May 7, 2015

Second suspect in Badger Basin murder back in Park County


A woman accused of helping murder her boyfriend last year has been brought back to Park County to face charges of conspiring to commit first-degree murder and aiding and abetting first-degree murder.

Sandra Garcia, 27, was booked into the Park County Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon, a little more than a month after her arrest in Rincon, Georgia.

Garcia is expected to make her first appearance in Park County Circuit Court in Cody on Friday morning, where bond will be set.

Sandra Garcia
She is one of three people facing murder charges in connection with the January 2014 killing of her then-boyfriend, 30-year-old Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres.

Guerra-Torres’ mutilated body — missing its head and other parts — was discovered along a remote Badger Basin road off of Wyo. Highway 294 on Jan. 9, 2014.

Charging documents allege Sandra Garcia asked her brother — Pedro Garcia, 28 — to find someone to kill Guerra-Torres. Sandra allegedly told her brother that Guerra-Torres had become indebted to dangerous “people in Mexico” who were going to kill her whole family.

Authorities allege Pedro Garcia then hired John Marquez, 51, to kill Guerra-Torres. The charges allege Marquez later shot Guerra-Torres, then dismembered his body.

The allegations contained in court records are based almost entirely on a confession Pedro Garcia gave to investigators in late March. That’s when the three co-defendants were arrested: the Garcias in Georgia and Marquez in Texas.

“Basically they came down here just trying to follow up some leads and do some interviews, and ended up breaking it wide open,” said a Georgia investigator who assisted Park County law enforcement.

Few details have been made public about the 14-month investigation that led to the arrests, but the big break came after personnel from the Park County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation decided to go after Pedro Garcia on an otherwise unrelated drug crime.

“Basically they came down here just trying to follow up some leads and do some interviews, and ended up breaking it wide open,” Effingham County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Sgt. Don White told the Effingham Herald.

“They interviewed him (Pedro Garcia) extensively and eventually he broke,” White told the Rincon-based newspaper. “And then that’s when we had enough to go pick up Sandra Garcia.”

Wyoming investigators took Pedro Garcia back to Park County with them (he’s being held in jail with bond set at $1 million), but Sandra Garcia was left in Georgia to be brought back by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Marquez was picked up in Bonham, Texas, and marshals still are in the process of bringing him back to Cody.

“We’re going gangbusters getting people into here ... and that’s just eating us alive,” Sheriff Scott Steward said of recent extraditions to Park County.

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward indicated Marquez would be here by the end of next week.

“Everything’s moving. They’re getting close,” Steward told Park County commissioners on Tuesday.

He also told commissioners he’s gone well over his $11,000 budget for inmate transportation this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

“We’re going gangbusters getting people into here ... and that’s just eating us alive,” Steward said. He hopes it won’t be an ongoing problem.

“The Marshals Service is raising their price to where I don’t know how long we’ll keep using them,” he added.

While their service is the most efficient, “Some of these (suspects), I think we’re going to have to go get them on our own,” the sheriff said.

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