Suspect Arrested in Cold Case of Murdered Woman After 28 Years

A Fresno man has been arrested and charged.

For the family of Saba Girmai, the process toward justice can now begin.

The Mountain View Police Department and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced Monday that they had arrested and charged Daniel Garcia, 53, with the murder of Girmai 28 years ago.

"Although there is still more investigative work to be done, the successful outcome of this decades-long investigation was only possible through the hard work and dedication of many investigators and law enforcement agencies.  Hopefully this will help bring some closure to Ms. Girmai’s family," Mountain View Police Department Chief Scott S.G. Vermeer said. "We never forget about unsolved murder cases and continuously seek out new technology and new leads to help us solve them."

The 21-year-old Girmai's strangled body had been tossed into a supermarket dumpster in the rear of the Safeway at the Bailey Park Plaza at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd and found by a passerby on Jan. 18, 1985, who reported it to the police.

Over the years, the cold case murder investigation produced no leads.

According to the MVPD however, on Jan. 12, 2010 the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Crime Laboratory developed a DNA profile from the victim’s fingernails. The profile matched a convicted offender, Garcia, who had never previously been linked to the death of Girmai.

With this new information, in 2011 the MVPD and the newly-created D.A.’s Cold Case Unit began to reinvestigate the case. 

After being extensively interviewed by a detective and investigator, Garcia was booked for murder on Friday, Jan. 4, Garcia was held without bail. He was arraigned Monday, Jan. 7 in Palo Alto.

"No matter how long ago someone was murdered, we don’t forget about them," said Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani, head of the Cold Case Unit.

What do you think about this? Did you live in Mountain View in 1985? Do you remember the news? What was the community's reaction? Tell is in comments.


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Claudia Cruz January 07, 2013 at 11:38 PM
I didn't realize we had cold cases in Mountain View from that far back. I'll see if I can find out about others.
Paul B January 08, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Great story! But it doesn't say what prompted MVPD to develop the DNA profile on Jan 12, 2010 after so many years of the case going cold.
Lauren M January 09, 2013 at 01:38 AM
DNA testing wasn't available back then. So I think they have lots of old cases that they have to return to and see if there is evidence to test and then that takes time to process and further investigate. Also if they don't find a match in the system (if the guy isn't in the system for another crime yet), they may have to re-run the DNA every year or so to see if there is a match.
Claudia Cruz January 10, 2013 at 12:28 AM
I can ask the MVPD. I know from experience that even with cold cases they won't share too much information because they don't want to affect the investigation. I'll ask. Perhaps they just decided to try again not that the DNA lab was available.
Claudia Cruz January 11, 2013 at 07:48 AM
@Paul B: According to the MVPD spokesperson the "MVPD didn’t develop the DNA profile. Jan 12 is when MVPD was notified by the Crime Lab that there had been a DNA match." Was that the answer you hoped to get?


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