Witnesses: Couple accused of murdering girl abused children

Date: 2014-11-14

BY RUTH BROWN

People who knew the accused killers of a 3-year-old girl had seen the couple spanking and bruising their children, according to redacted police reports released Friday.

Alberto Garcia, 31, and Carla Garcia, 30, fled their southwest Bakersfield home in 2010 before police found Serenity Julia Gandara dead and her 4-year-old brother, Isaiah, abandoned there.

The Garcias were arrested in Mexico in February 2012 and had been awaiting extradition until last month.

In 2010, neighbors and relatives told police they had seen Serenity and Isaiah with apparent signs of abuse, according to the new reports.

Some claimed the children were spanked or had their hands restrained if and when they cried.

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. Both are being held in jail without bail.

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