SoCal man arrested on suspicion of assaulting, killing 2 women over 40 years ago
02/10/2023 4:47 pm PST
OXNARD, Calif. (TCD) -- A 68-year-old man was arrested this week in a 42-year-old cold case involving the deaths of two young women in Southern California.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, and Oxnard Police Department announced Tony Garcia was taken into custody and charged with two counts of murder for the 1981 deaths of 20-year-old Rachel Zendejas and 21-year-old Lisa Gondek.
He also faces special allegations of commission of more than one murder, murder while engaged in rape, and murder while engaged in kidnapping.
Garcia was booked into the Ventura County Jail and is being held on $2 million bail.
According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, on Jan. 18, 1981, deputies responded to a residence on the 700 block of Mobil Avenue in Camarillo after receiving a report of a deceased woman in a carport. Officials identified her as Zendejas and said she was the "apparent victim of a homicide."
Detectives began investigating her case, but it eventually went cold after "all leads were exhausted."
Eleven months later, on Dec. 12, 1981, the Oxnard Fire Department responded to a blaze at an apartment on the 1200 block of Gonzales Road. When firefighters extinguished it, they reportedly found Gondek dead inside a bathtub. Her case also went cold.
In 2004, detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Forensic Laboratory found the suspect DNA retrieved at Zendejas' crime scene matched the DNA sample from Gondek’s home. Investigators submitted the DNA to the Combined DNA Index System, but they could not find a match.
Detectives reopened the case in 2019 and found new leads reportedly leading to Garcia. He was arrested after a DNA sample "further confirmed that Garcia is the suspect in both homicide cases."
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