Florida detectives identify murder victim 20 years later through genealogical testing

On December 29, 2003, Orange County Sheriff’s detectives were called to Taylor Creek Road in Christmas, Florida, after landscaping workers found human remains in the rural area. Detectives determined that the remains were the result of a murder, but for 20 years, they had only a reconstructive forensic sketch of the victim. Then, in 2023, with a grant from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, detectives used genealogical testing to identify the victim. In 2024, the medical examiner named the victim as 26-year-old Holly Rose Leavines Garcia. “Holly Garcia was a wife and mother at the time,” said Det. Chelsey Koepsell with the OCSO Cold Case Unit. “She resided on the east side of Orlando. In 2002, we believe she resided at the Palm Bay Apartments, off South Semoran Boulevard, and we believe she also resided at the Hollowbrook Apartments off Curry Ford Road. now starting over. Deputies say Holly Garcia was married to Miguel Angel Garcia Rivera, a man whose whereabouts are unknown and detectives hope to find him. “We do not believe the area where the human remains were found is where the crime was committed,” Garcia said. “We believe this is the area where the victim was brought after the victim was killed.” Garcia was also never reported missing. OCSO detectives are asking for the public’s help in solving this case. If you recognize Garcia or have any information about her life or the circumstances surrounding her death, call the OCSO Cold Case Unit at 407-836-4357 or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

On December 29, 2003, Orange County Sheriff’s detectives were called to Taylor Creek Road in Christmas, Florida, after landscaping workers found human remains in the rural area.

Detectives determined the remains were the result of a homicide, but for 20 years, they had only a forensic sketch of the victim.

Then, in 2023, with a grant from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, detectives used genealogical testing to identify the victim.

In 2024, the medical examiner named the victim as 26-year-old Holly Rose Leavines Garcia.

“Holly Garcia was a wife and mother at the time,” said Det. Chelsey Koepsell with the OCSO Cold Case Unit. “She resided on the east side of Orlando. In 2002, we believe she resided at the Palm Bay Apartments, south. Semoran Boulevard, and we believe she also resided at the Hollowbrook Apartments off Curry Ford Road.

But with no leads and not knowing who the victim was at the time, detectives are now starting over.

Deputies say Holly Garcia was married to Miguel Angel Garcia Rivera, a man whose whereabouts are unknown and detectives hope to find him.

“We do not believe that the area where the human remains were found is where the crime was committed,” Garcia said. “We believe this is the area where the victim was brought after the victim was killed.”

Garcia was also never reported missing.

OCSO detectives are asking for the public’s help in solving this case.

If you recognize Garcia or have any information about her life or the circumstances of her death, call the OCSO Cold Case Unit at 407-836-4357 or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

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