December 28, 2008

Body in trunk was illegal immigrant

By T.J. Aulds
The Daily News
Published December 28, 2008

TEXAS CITY — The man found stuffed in the trunk of a car that had been abandoned in the driveway of a Texas City home on Christmas Night was identified as an illegal immigrant from Honduras, police said Saturday.

Abisai Hernandez-Garcia, 31, was stabbed and beaten before being stuffed into the trunk of his green 1997 Mitsubishi Galant. The vehicle was abandoned in the driveway of a family’s home in the 100 block of 28th Street about 10 p.m. Thursday.

After calling police about the abandoned car, the homeowners said dispatchers suggested they call a towing company to have it removed, since the vehicle was on private property.

As they waited for the wrecker to arrive, the couple searched for records to identify the owner.

They opened the trunk to discover the man’s body inside.

The medical examiner would not be able to confirm until Monday Hernandez-Garcia’s cause of death. Police said he had been dead less than 24 hours when his body was discovered.

Texas City Police Capt. Brian Goetschius said Hernandez-Garcia had been deported at least once, possibly twice. He had also been arrested twice this year by Texas City police for driving without a license and in November was arrested on a charge of public intoxication.

Outside of those instances, police have very little information about the victim, Goetschius said. They were working with federal immigration officials to find out more about his background.

The police department also was going to contact the Honduran consulate to notify the victim’s family.

Hernandez-Garcia’s body was dumped just a few blocks from the Velami Apartment complex where he lived, Goetschius said. While the transfer of the title had never been completed, police obtained records that show the victim had purchased the Galant about a month before he was found dead.

Goetschius said the car had been reported abandoned at another location in Texas City on Dec. 21. The orange tow warning sticker was still on the car’s windshield.

Police did confirm Hernandez-Garcia had no connection to the owners of the home where his car was dumped.

“We’re bewildered why the vehicle was left there,” Goetschius said.

Hernandez-Garcia’s death is the second case in Texas City of an illegal immigrant’s body found under mysterious circumstances. On Dec. 11, the body of an illegal immigrant from El Salvador was found dead in a field on Amburn Road about three blocks from College of the Mainland.

Police were led to that gruesome discovery after an anonymous phone tip to 911.

Goetschius said the two deaths do not appear to be related.


How To Help

Texas City police asked that anyone with information call 409-643-5760 or Crime Stoppers at 409-948-8477.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?