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DOWNEY – It’s been a tough year for the daughters of Arnold Salas Garcia.
“They were very close to their father,” said Alva Negrette. “It’s hard for them, it’s hard to explain who would’ve done this.”
Last month marked the one-year anniversary since the death of 46-year-old Garcia, a resident of Downey, who was fatally stabbed along the San Gabriel River after being approached by a group of young men last October.
Downey Police found Garcia in the 10300 block of Foster Road on the west side of the river bed after a bicyclist called 9-1-1 on Oct. 28. While several witnesses have reported what happened that evening, the suspects are still at-large, motivating Garcia’s family to search for their own answers.
“I’ve talked to people who lived there and a lot of people seen what happened, but didn’t want to get involved,” said Negrette, Garcia’s partner for 24 years and the mother of his two daughters. “They’ve told me it was gang-related — nine to ten guys were asking people to empty their pockets.”
Negrette believes the men only intended to “rough people up,” but something may have gotten out of hand between Garcia and the men.
“He wasn’t violent, but he tried to be a peacemaker. I think some were talking to him and two or three chased him to the west side,” she said. “They didn’t take his bike or his cell phone, but no money was in his wallet…it was an ugly night.”
The owner of a local construction business, Garcia lived on the west side of the San Gabriel River and would often cross the river bed to visit his daughters, ages 8 and 15.
“He was a people person — he lived happy, telling jokes, helping others,” Negrette said. “He was a smart guy that just lived life…his daughters were probably the most important thing to him.”
To commemorate the anniversary of his death, a group of 100 family members and friends gathered at the site where Garcia was killed, lighting candles to create a new memory of that day.
“It helped — I live down the street so every time I go on the over ramp, it’s right there,” Negrette said. “But we made a better memory. People in the area came out, there were candles and balloons to make over what happened.”
According to Negrette, a Hispanic male is being held by police for being an accessory to murder, but no one has been charged for the actual murder.
She remains hopeful, however, that members of the community will contact police if they know any information about who killed her longtime partner.
“He has two little girls…we forgive, but we still want our day in court,” she said. “We haven’t forgotten and we want to know what happened. If their kids weren’t acting right that day — tell us and give us some peace.
“I watch those murder mysteries and I feel nothing, but when it hits home — it’s a different level. He was my dear friend and I’m his voice now.”
Anyone with any information on the attack can call sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500.
Published: Nov. 14, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 31