AUSTIN (KXAN) — A trail of texts, social media messages, eyewitness accounts and a recorded phone conversation led Austin police to the 17-year-old accused in the stabbing death of a 29-year-old during a fight in east Austin last month.
According to the Austin Police Department, Christopher Michael Garcia, 17, fatally stabbed Misael Sanchez in a fight the evening of Feb. 16 at Cameron Road and McKie Drive, just south of U.S. Highway 183.
Sanchez died at the scene, and witnesses say Garcia drove away.
Found at the scene 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 man got out of a vehicle and a fight began. The witness said the man, 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 the mother of Garcia — who she says killed Sanchez. The woman corroborated information police were previously told and provided an odd text exchange she’d had with Garcia the previous day.
She said 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.” She gave police a screenshot of this exchange, which she said was strange, because she and her son don’t have a good relationship.
She told police she met with one of her son’s friends who told her he’d received a photo from Garcia of Sanchez that police believe was taken moments after being stabbed. Another friend of Garcia messaged Blanca to tell her they had 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 gave the police that screenshot, too.
About five days later, police got the woman to agree to record a conversation with Garcia. Here, police say, the sequence of events came into view. 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 warning, Garcia said, ran out when Sanchez hit Garcia’s vehicle with the rocks and a fire extinguisher.
At this point, Garcia was joined by a friend, who Garcia says pointed a gun at Sanchez and warned him that he’d shoot. The fight, however, continued, with the other man reportedly hitting Sanchez with the gun and scuffling on the ground.
Eventually, Garcia said, he ran toward Sanchez and stabbed him in the side. Garcia said he stabbed him again after he fell.
Garcia was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 23 and booked into the Travis County Jail on a first-degree felony homicide charge. KXAN has reached out to his attorney and is awaiting a response back.