Detectives seek public's help in 2010 murder case

It's been two years since a man was found shot and burned in a Finley orchard, but Benton County sheriff's detectives haven't given up on solving the case.

Investigators say, however, they need the public's help to track down Juan Antonio Segoviano-Garcia's killer.

"We're just hoping for that little piece of the puzzle that will get it solved," Detective Lee Cantu told the Herald.

Detectives continue to work the case and stay in contact with Segoviano-Garcia's family to keep them updated on the progress.

"The longer it goes unsolved, the tougher it becomes," he said. "But, nonetheless, these cases stay open, and they'll remain open until hopefully we can get it solved."

Segoviano-Garcia was found dead July 27, 2010, in an orchard belonging to Washington Fruit and Produce, near the intersection of Highway 397 and Finley Road.

Fire crews had been called out around 10:30 p.m. to a large brush fire there and discovered the 30-year-old's body while battling the blaze.

Segoviano-Garcia's body was badly burned, and investigators used DNA results to confirm his identity.

An autopsy revealed the orchard worker died from a shotgun blast to his chest. Detectives suspect the fire may have been set to destroy evidence.

Segoviano-Garcia was an irrigator who camped at the orchard. He also had lived in Pasco.

Detectives have tracked several leads but are no closer to solving the homicide, Cantu said.

"Every lead we try to follow just turns into thin air, unfortunately," Cantu said. "It's frustrating. ... What we're trying to do is hopefullygenerate any type of new information."

Investigators believe they have established a timeline of events leading up to Segoviano-Garcia's death, and they say he probably was alive 24 hours prior to the fire. But, Cantu said, they don't want to release any more details because they don't want to compromise the case.

Detectives have conducted numerous interviews, however Cantu said there are more people who probably know something but don't realize it, and detectives would like to talk to them.

"We're fairly convinced there are people who may have information but are afraid to come forward or don't want to get involved," he said.

It's a challenge though, he said, because migrant workers often don't trust law enforcement or are concerned about their immigration status.

Anyone with information about Segoviano-Garcia's death is asked to call the sheriff's office at 735-6555 or contact a deputy through the non-emergency dispatch line at 628-0333.

Tips in Spanish or English can also be made through Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 586-8477, 800-222-8477 or online at www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.

Tipsters can remain anonymous.

-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com