This is the third story today of children in foster care being murdered by foster parents. These foster care providers went so far as to leave a child behind after they killed his sister. Why?
By Carol Ferguson, Eyewitness News
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The foster parents of a young girl who died over the weekend might be in Mexico.
Bakersfield police said Monday that they believe Alberto and Carla Garcia have fled south of the border, and they’re concerned about the safety of three children who may be with them.
A 3-year-old girl, Serenity Julia Gandara, was found dead inside the Garcia’s southwest Bakersfield home Sunday morning. Investigators said Carla Garcia called her sister to tell her about the death, and the aunt called police.
Officers found Serenity on the living room floor, and an unidentified 4-year-old boy, who is also a foster child, asleep in another room.
“There were obvious signs of trauma, but as far as the actual cause of death, it is preliminary for that,” police Sgt. David Chase said.
An autopsy was performed Monday, but the cause and manner of death are pending further investigation, according to the coroner’s office.
Police Sgt. Mary DeGeare said the boy left alone in the house also had marks and scarring in various stages of healing, including recent injuries.
The Garcias had apparently been foster parents to Serenity and her brother and reportedly may have adopted them. Police said it’s believed the parents have their 5- and 4-year-old children with them. Plus, they have Carla Garcia’s son from a previous marriage, 10-year-old Carlos Sobalvarro.
Carlos’ father said Monday that he’s very worried.
“I feel he’s in danger because, I mean, they have really short tempers,” Carlos Sobalvarro Jr. told Eyewitness News. “I don’t know, I just hope he gets home safe.”
Gregory Reafsnyder said he knows the Garcia family from the neighborhood, and everything seemed OK.
“Every once in a while, the little boy would come outside and I’d talk to him,” Reafsnyder said. “The little girl stayed inside a lot. She was well taken care of, in my opinion.”
Local police said they’ll try to get a warrant to get the parents back from Mexico, if that’s where they are. The Garcias are now wanted for felony child endangerment and questioning in the death of the child.
Police said the couple was driving a white 1997 Ford Expedition with a gold Eddie Bauer package and 17-inch rims. It has California license plate 5FLC681.
Anyone with information helpful to the investigation can call police at (661) 327-7111