AUSTIN (KXAN) – A trail of texts, social media messages, eyewitness accounts and a recorded phone conversation led police to the 17-year-old accused in the stabbing death of a 19-year-old during a fight in east Austin, Texas last month.
According to the Austin Police Department, Christopher Michael Garcia, 17, fatally stabbed Misael Sanchez in a fight on the evening of Feb. 16.
Sanchez died at the scene, and witnesses say Garcia drove away.
Found out the scene, however, was a red sweatshirt tied up to hold several rocks and a vehicle with a broken back window and front-end damage parked nearby. A witness who was walking in the area told police he saw Sanchez break the car window with the bag of rocks before another Hispanic male got out of a vehicle and a fight ensued. The witness said the male, in addition to several other people, appeared to be trying to keep Sanchez at the scene until police arrived.
Early the next morning, APD received a call from a woman identifying herself as Blanca, the mother of Garcia — who she says killed Sanchez. Blanca corroborated information police were previously told and provided an odd text exchange she’d had with her son the previous day.
Blanca said at around 6:40 p.m. — three minutes after Sanchez was pronounced dead — she’d received a text from Garcia reading, “Luv u mom,” in addition to another reading, “just inxace” and a Facebook message reading “Luv u.” Blanca gave police a screenshot of this exchange, which she said was strange, because she and her son don’t have a good relationship.
Blanca told police she met with one of her son’s friends who told her he’d received a photo from Garcia of Sanchez lying on the ground with his eyes open, apparently moments after being stabbed. Another friend of Garcia messaged Blanca to tell her they had also received a photo of a dead person from her son.
The mother’s long morning came to a head just before noon, when she told police she received another Facebook message from her son: “I killed Flaco.” She turned this screenshot to police, too.
About five days later, police got Blanca to agree to record a conversation with Garcia. Here, police say, the sequence of events became clear. According to the recording, Garcia said he and Sanchez, or “Flaco,” had been hanging out that afternoon, and arguments over synthetic marijuana escalated. Garcia said he refused to help Sanchez smoke, because he would “start causing problems.”
After several refusals and verbal sparring, Garcia said the two began fighting. On the recorded conversation with his mother, Garcia reportedly recounted warning Sanchez that he was “straight stabbing people today.” But the warnings ended, Garcia said, when Sanchez hit Garcia’s vehicle with the rocks and a fire extinguisher.
At this point, Garcia was joined by a friend known as “Twin,” who Garcia says pointed a gun at Sanchez and warned him that he’d shoot. The fight, however, continued, with “Twin” reportedly hitting Sanchez with the gun and scuffling on the ground.
Eventually, Garcia said, he readied his knife and ran toward ‘Twin” and Sanchez, plunging the blade into Sanchez’s side. The 19-year-old toppled to the ground with his feet up, begging for his life. Garcia said he stabbed him again.
Garcia was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 23 and booked into the Travis County Jail on a first-degree felony homicide charge. Nexstar’s KXAN has reached out to his attorney and is awaiting a response.