Foster parents of girl found dead in 2010 returned to Kern

Date: 2014-10-26

The couple wanted in connection with the death of a 3-year-old foster child in 2010 was returned to Kern County by the FBI this weekend.

Authorities say 31-year-old Alberto and 30-year-old Carla Garcia fled their southwest Bakersfield home in 2010 for Mexico, leaving behind the body of Serenity Julia Gandara and her 4-year-old brother Isaiah, who was found asleep in a bedroom.

The Garcias were arrested in Mexico in February 2012 and have been awaiting extradition.

Their return to Kern was announced Sunday by the Sacramento Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Carla Garcia is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of willful cruelty to a child, and Alberto Garcia is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of willful cruelty to a child, according to Kern Countuy Superior Court records.

According to court records, the Garcias’ family members said they were aware of “ongoing physical abuse” of both children.

An autopsy determined Serenity died from massive blunt force trauma to her abdomen, court records show. She also had a severe skull fracture and signs of “additional trauma sustained over a prolonged period of time.” An examination found Isaiah also had suffered “numerous injuries consistent with prolonged physical child abuse,” records show.

The children are the biological offspring of Alberto’s sister.

According to a Bakersfield police probable cause declaration filed in court in 2010, Carla called one of her sisters on July 18, 2010 and told her to go to the Garcias’ home. Carla told her sister that Serenity was dead, Isaiah was sleeping and the Garcias were fleeing to Mexico with their three other children, one a son from Carla’s previous marriage.

The couple was arrested Feb. 9, 2012 in Huiscolotilla in the Pacific coastal state of Colima by the Mexican Agencia Federal de Investgación.

The status of the other three children could not be learned Sunday. Isaiah was adopted by a family member.

Both Garcias are being held without bail. They are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 28.

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