Published March 29, 2014
Authorities in New Mexico say bones found during excavation of a home's garage may help solve the disappearance of a woman who has not been seen since 1952.
Santa Fe police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt said Friday that officers reviewing cold cases decided to investigate the home in connection with the disappearance of 27-year-old Inez Garcia.
According to Westervelt, Garcia disappeared in 1952 following an argument with her husband and the mother of four was last seen leaving a bar in downtown Santa Fe.
"She was never, ever, ever found," Westervelt told the Albuquerque Journal, adding that friends and family said she would never have abandoned her four children.
Police on March 20 started excavating at the home where the family lived, and they uncovered bone fragments on Tuesday.
The Office of the Medical Investigators said it's possible the bone fragments are human and they'll be examined by a crime lab in Texas.
Police obtained a DNA swab from one of Garcia's two surviving daughters for comparison, according to the Albuquerque Journal. That daughter has not been identified by police.
“We don’t want to give her a false sense of hope in any way, we just want to be open and active with that,” Westervelt said.
Garcia's husband is deceased, and the home's current owners gave permission for the digging.
“There were lots of rumors that he (the husband) buried her in the dirt floor,” Westervelt told the Journal from the digging scene. “Nobody was allowed in here when he was alive, the husband was alive. The kids weren’t allowed in here, nobody was ever allowed in here, so it’s just the mystery of what could be here.”
A Feb. 9, 1954 news article about the case in the Santa Fe New Mexican said that Garcia was last seen leaving a downtown bar after a night of drinking, following a stranger, according to the Journal.
Westervelt said that by another account, Garcia and her husband had just left a bar when she suddenly jumped out of their car, walked away and was never seen again.
The alternative story came from inquiries the police made when they went to the home in 1996 after the owners discovered two large bones in the garage. Those bones turned out to be from a horse and cow, according to the report.
Westervelt told the Journal that dogs had sometimes dug around the garage and there were reports of a smell coming from the area.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Santa Fe police at 505-428-3710 or Crime Stoppers at 505-955-5050.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.