SANTA CRUZ - By all accounts it was a horrific attack against a young barista opening up a coffee shop early one morning in 2008. The man who held a knife to her throat, raped, robbed and locked her inside a storage refrigerator, went about his life for three years before he was identified as the rapist and arrested. On October 16, 2013, Elvis Lorenzo Garcia, 24, was sentenced to 65 years in prison.
"It was the work of our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members in the Department of Justice (DOJ) crime lab that lead to Garcia's arrest," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "This was a rare case in which familial DNA technology was used, which lead investigators to Garcia's father, which then lead investigators to Garcia. If not for the highly trained criminalists at DOJ, this guy would likely still be walking the streets and possibly be victimizing other. "
Garcia was sentenced to a total of 65 years 4 months after being convicted by a jury of all counts and allegations arising from the March 19, 2008 sexual assault at the Kind Grind Coffee Shop in the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. He was convicted of numerous sexual assault offenses, robbery, burglary, kidnapping and using a knife during the commission of the offenses. Courageous and strong, the victim testified for two days during the trial. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching its verdict.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Cruz Police Department, and the California Department of Justice. In 2008, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Inspector Katrina Rogers, then a Sexual Assault Detective for the Santa Cruz Police Department, submitted the DNA evidence to the California Department of Justice for entry into the new familial DNA program. This program compared the DNA collected during the investigation against the DNA database searching for profiles of the suspect’s family members. This process resulted in a hit which led to an extensive investigation, involving many hours of surveillance, evidence collection and analysis. As a result, Garcia became the prime suspect. Two DNA samples were taken from Garcia and comparisons confirmed that he was the rapist.
Garcia's arrest was only the second time in the state that familial DNA technology was used to successfully link a suspect to a crime.