It’s been more than three years, but they finally got the suspect in Ceceline’s murder. He’d better hope he gets convicted and jailed, or Bob Trout will find him instead.
For those who aren’t local: This was a troubled teenager who wasn’t getting along with her parents. Our local retired felon, recovering addict, philosopher and handyman Bob chaperoned her about for a while and tried to help her go straight, but as he put it “she was hanging around with bottom feeders”. She went runaway and was murdered. I found out about all of this on a Saturday night watching America’s Most Wanted in a stupor, and it was a bit of a shock. Bob, who went through combat in Vietnam and a hair-raising career of crime before he got sober, still can’t really talk about it.
VICTOR MANUEL GARCIA
Suspect held three years after murder
A man who went to Mexico after a 16-year-old was beaten to death in 2001 is arrested.
VICTOR MANUEL GARCIA
December 25, 2004
COSTA MESA — More than three years after 16-year-old Ceceline Godsoe was found beaten to death in Fairview Park, Costa Mesa police detectives have arrested Victor Manuel Garcia, the man who they suspect killed her.
Garcia, 20, was extradited from Mexico by U.S. Federal agents and was brought to Houston, where Costa Mesa detectives arrested him Thursday night.
Even though Ceceline’s father, William Godsoe, has been waiting for this day, he wasn’t expecting the news of the arrest Friday morning.
“I was just kind of numb,” he said. “It just kind of came out of the blue.”
After Ceceline Godsoe was found dead on Sept. 21, 2001, police said that Garcia, then 17, had been in the park with friends the previous night and had met Ceceline.
The girl had been beaten with a blunt object so badly that she drowned in her own blood, police said at the time.
Fingerprint evidence led police to question Garcia, who then left Costa Mesa for Mexico, police said. The case was featured twice on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”
The publicity generated various leads, but what got Garcia arrested is a crime he committed in Mexico, said Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Marty Carver.
He was arrested in Mexico City in October 2003 on assault charges, and since then, officials from the Orange County District Attorney’s office have worked to get Garcia extradited, Carver said.
“We had to wait, because we knew he was in custody down in Mexico, but there was no way of getting him up here,” Carver said.
“[The FBI] ended up calling us and telling us that he was going to be released, and this is where we could pick him up at.”
Getting someone extradited from Mexico is time-consuming because it involves the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice as well as Mexican authorities, and everything has to be translated, said Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy.
“We’re very grateful to the government of Mexico for extraditing Mr. Garcia to face trial for what he did,” Murphy said. “They were very cooperative with us.”
Garcia is being held in the Costa Mesa jail and is not eligible for bail. He will be arraigned Monday in the Orange County Superior Court Juvenile Justice Center because he was 17 at the time of the homicide.
Prosecutors will petition to have Garcia tried as an adult, Murphy said. Because he was a juvenile when the crime occurred, Garcia will not face the death penalty if convicted.
Typically in California, the penalty for a murder conviction is 15 years to life in prison, Murphy said.
William Godsoe plans to be at the court proceedings. He hopes they will answer questions about what happened to his daughter, whom he described as a free-spirited girl.
“I want to know after all this time what happened out there on that bluff, and I want to know why my daughter was killed,” he said.
The next phase of the case is only beginning for Murphy, but he’s satisfied that the extradition finally came about.
“I’ve put so many hours into that,” he said. “I thought it was all for nothing. I thought it was going to be a waste of time.”