News

Arrest in decades-old murder case

Fresno man arrested, charged with killing woman in 1985, thanks to DNA evidence

After 28 years, justice may finally be levied against the killer of Saba Girmai, a Santa Clara County woman who was found strangled to death in in a Mountain View dumpster in 1985, according to the Mountain View Police Department and the county district attorney.

Investigators used the state's DNA database to link 53-year-old Daniel Garcia of Fresno to the murder of Girmai, who was 21 years old when a passerby discovered her body on January 18, 1985, in a dumpster behind the Bailey Park Plaza shopping center at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd., a police press release said.

The case, which remained cold for more than two decades, regained momentum when the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Crime Laboratory developed a DNA profile from Girmai's fingernails, the release said. That profile was matched with Garcia, a convict who had not previously been linked to Girmai.

In 2011, investigators from the D.A.'s office and Mountain View police began seriously looking into the case. Working with the Fresno County Probation Department, investigators called Garcia in for extensive interviews, which led to his arrest.

Garcia was arrested and charged with murder on Jan. 4 and is currently being held without bail, the release said. He was arraigned on Jan. 7 and is scheduled to enter a plea on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. in Department 84, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani said.

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Mountain View Police Chief Scott Vermeer said he hopes the efforts of investigators might help bring closure to Girmai's family. "We never forget about unsolved murder cases and continuously seek out new technology and new leads to help us solve them," the chief said.

--Bay City News contributed to this report

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Arrest in decades-old murder case

Fresno man arrested, charged with killing woman in 1985, thanks to DNA evidence

by Nick Veronin / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 1:07 pm
Updated: Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 10:36 am

After 28 years, justice may finally be levied against the killer of Saba Girmai, a Santa Clara County woman who was found strangled to death in in a Mountain View dumpster in 1985, according to the Mountain View Police Department and the county district attorney.

Investigators used the state's DNA database to link 53-year-old Daniel Garcia of Fresno to the murder of Girmai, who was 21 years old when a passerby discovered her body on January 18, 1985, in a dumpster behind the Bailey Park Plaza shopping center at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd., a police press release said.

The case, which remained cold for more than two decades, regained momentum when the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Crime Laboratory developed a DNA profile from Girmai's fingernails, the release said. That profile was matched with Garcia, a convict who had not previously been linked to Girmai.

In 2011, investigators from the D.A.'s office and Mountain View police began seriously looking into the case. Working with the Fresno County Probation Department, investigators called Garcia in for extensive interviews, which led to his arrest.

Garcia was arrested and charged with murder on Jan. 4 and is currently being held without bail, the release said. He was arraigned on Jan. 7 and is scheduled to enter a plea on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. in Department 84, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani said.

Mountain View Police Chief Scott Vermeer said he hopes the efforts of investigators might help bring closure to Girmai's family. "We never forget about unsolved murder cases and continuously seek out new technology and new leads to help us solve them," the chief said.

--Bay City News contributed to this report

Comments

Sean
Sylvan Park
on Jan 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Sean, Sylvan Park
on Jan 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Wow, I bet this dude was caught by surprise! 28 years ago, great police work I hope the charges stand and he gets life. RIP Saba.


Martin Omander
Rex Manor
on Jan 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Martin Omander, Rex Manor
on Jan 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Well done, MVPD and everyone else that made this happen! It is very important for society that murderers and other criminals are held accountable for their deeds.


Sean
Sylvan Park
on Jan 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm
Sean, Sylvan Park
on Jan 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I agree Martin, this guy has been living with blood on his hands for 28 years. Who knows what the story is but no way should this women have been treated this waym I hope the family can now find closure.


Larry
Monta Loma
on Jan 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm
Larry, Monta Loma
on Jan 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm

AWESOME detective work by MVPD and SC County law enforcement!


kman
Monta Loma
on Jan 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm
kman, Monta Loma
on Jan 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

The state will probably spend 500k on his trial and everything else and he will probably go free in 5 yrs.


Process Question
Cuernavaca
on Jan 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm
Process Question, Cuernavaca
on Jan 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Another paper reported that the fingernail DNA evidence was submitted in 2010. I would assume that the DNA scan in the system should be pretty fast with modern technology? Why did 2+ more years go by? Did they identify the guy right away, and then spend time building a case?


Artie
Shoreline West
on Jan 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm
Artie, Shoreline West
on Jan 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I think you've been watching too much CSI. The technology is not as fast as on TV, and the labs are understaffed and have long backlogs. Typical time to process DNA is several months, so I can imagine that a low-priority cold case might have to wait a couple of years.


Backoff!
Rex Manor
on Jan 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm
Backoff!, Rex Manor
on Jan 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Hey!

Before you get too deeply engrossed in your retribution fantasies, here are some items to consider.

He has been charged, and is being held in custody.

He has not been tried for this in a court of law.

He has not been found guilty of the crime for which he has been charged.


Fact
Monta Loma
on Jan 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm
Fact, Monta Loma
on Jan 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

@ backoff!

Here is the fact "a DNA profile from Girmai's fingernails, the release said. That profile was matched with Garcia, a convict who had not previously been linked to Girmai."

What more possible evidence do you need?

If he is not convicted then our justice system is totally Flooped up.


Otto Maddox
Monta Loma
on Jan 10, 2013 at 11:39 am
Otto Maddox, Monta Loma
on Jan 10, 2013 at 11:39 am

@Fact: DNA is not perfect. Recent evidence shows cross contamination is a real problem.

On top of that the tests have become too sensitive. They can detect DNA in places you'd never expect to see it. The problem is people's DNA is everywhere. Some DNA experts has said this is causing people to be falsely accused.

So the presence of DNA by itself does not, and should, convict someone of murder.


Fact
Monta Loma
on Jan 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm
Fact, Monta Loma
on Jan 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm

@Otto

If you read it says "fingernails", plural, meaning it was not just in one finger, but many. So how does one have that much dna somewhere where it shouldn't be. Assuming they tested all fingernails.


Monalisa Garcia
another community
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm
Monalisa Garcia, another community
on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Wow! He was a close family friend! Unbelievable! Never thought that he would have such thing in mind to do something like this.


Name hidden
Stierlin Estates

on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:01 am
Name hidden, Stierlin Estates

on Sep 26, 2017 at 11:01 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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