Crime

Death certificate issued for missing 19-year-old Pasco woman

A 19-year-old Pasco woman missing for more than nine months was killed when she was shot in the torso, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel said.

Blasdel issued a presumptive death certificate Wednesday for Tiairra Jo Garcia, who is believed to have been killed June 22, 2008.

Garcia's boyfriend, Marnicus Lockhard, is suspected of accidentally shooting her when he grabbed a gun that was on the floorboard of the van they were in, authorities said.

Garcia was "obviously seriously wounded," court documents said, but Lockhard ignored her injuries and refused to take her to the hospital.

Pasco police and Franklin County prosecutors allege that Lockhard drove to Mount Rainier National Park the next day and dumped her body in a remote area.

Garcia's body is believed to be in an area that's covered with about 12 feet of snow.

It's rare to issue a death certificate without a body, Blasdel said.

In his nearly 15 years as coroner, Blasdel said this might be only the third death certificate that he's issued without having the remains.

State law allows him to issue the presumptive death certificate "if I have enough reasons to believe that somebody has died ... and we do not have the remains." he said.

The presumptive death certificate was determined based on information received from Pasco police. Blasdel has listed Garcia's death as a homicide caused by the gunshot wound to the torso.

If Garcia's remains are found, Blasdel said he may look at going back and amending the death certificate.

Lockhard, 30, was charged Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

He's currently in federal custody in Yakima but is expected to be returned to Franklin County soon to face the manslaughter charge.

Lockhard and three others -- Ashone Hollinquest, Andrea Parr and Verla Spencer -- are also charged in Franklin County District Court with first-degree kidnapping.

Garcia was last seen June 22 out with Lockhard and Hollinquest. She was reported missing the next day when her mother realized she never returned home or showed up at work.

  Comments