Remains of California woman found 15 years after her murder

Mario Flavio Garcia at his murder trial in Sacramento in 2006.
(Associated Press )

Fifteen years after a California woman disappeared and 13 years after a man was convicted of her murder, authorities said Monday that they have found her body.

Christie Wilson, 27, was last seen in the parking lot of the Thunder Valley Casino northeast of Sacramento.

Wilson had been gambling with Mario Flavio Garcia at the casino and surveillance video showed the pair walking toward the exit in the early hours of Oct. 5, 2005.

Placer County sheriff’s detectives arrested Garcia after they found hair and blood spots with Wilson’s DNA in his car.


Garcia was convicted in 2007 of first-degree murder and sentenced to 59 years to life in prison.

Last week investigators returned to Garcia’s former home in Auburn and conducted a new search, according to a statement Monday from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

“They scanned the four-and-a-half-acre lot using Ground Penetrating Radar technology and identified several areas of interest,” the statement said.

“Detectives and investigators searching one of those areas located and recovered skeletal remains which were brought to the Placer County Morgue for examination. Dental records have confirmed the remains found on the property, formerly owned by Garcia, are those of Christie Wilson.”

Wilson’s mother, Debbie Boyd, said the announcement marked “a day of peace” for the family.

“It’s a peace we haven’t had, and we are so happy to finally be able to close this chapter of torment and be able to move forward with great Thanksgiving,” Boyd said at a Monday media briefing. “Today is a day that absolutely reflects some of the greatest level of perseverance in police work that a victim’s family could ever ask for.”


Garcia, 67, is serving his sentence at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego, according to the Sacramento Bee.