California man who went by alias for 40 years arrested in woman's murder


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California detectives arrested a man who allegedly sexually assaulted and murdered an elderly woman in 1984, when he was just 19 years old.

Richard Moore had been living under the alias “Woody” or “Woody on Fairbanks,” the Sacramento News & Review reported, before he was arrested last month.

Now 59, Moore pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of 69-year-old Madeline Garcia, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office wrote in a press release. Moore was arraigned this week, authorities said on Monday.

Evidence collected at the scene on Atlantic and Branstetter streets in Roseville indicated that Garcia’s attacker dragged her into an alley, where she was murdered with repeated blows.

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Richard Moore

Richard Moore, 59, was 19 when he allegedly killed Madeline Garcia. He was arrested in Los Angeles on June 27 and was arraigned on murder, kidnapping and rape charges this week. (Placer County District Attorney’s Office)

“She was brutally attacked,” Roseville Homicide Detective James Fujitani told the Sacramento News & Review in 2020, when the case remained cold. “It was such a violent attack that we found her false teeth in the gutter.”

Garcia’s body was shoved behind a dumpster, and her face was beaten almost beyond recognition, the outlet reported. Blood splatters every 20 or 30 feet indicated that the killer had attempted to move her several times, dropping her in the process.

“To me, it seemed like a murder of rage,” Garcia’s granddaughter, Sharon Garcia, told the outlet. “And if it was rage, you had to wonder, ‘Did this person know her?’”

Many in the neighborhood called Garcia “The Can Lady.” Each morning before daybreak, she would scour central Roseville to collect cans from trash bins, according to the outlet, often doing so atop a large tricycle.

However, the widow was not indigent. Her family knew her as “Grandma Garcia,” a Spanish American homemaker who loved cooking, gardening, crafting and the neighborhood children.

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Roseville, California

Madeline Garcia was known as “the Can Lady” by neighbors for her eccentric habits in central Roseville, California, pictured. Her family knew the homemaker as “Grandma Garcia.” (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Investigators with the Roseville Police Department and the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office reportedly ran bodily fluids preserved from the 40-year-old crime scene from a familial DNA sifting method, according to the outlet and the DA’s office, leading them to Moore. 

Just weeks after Garcia’s murder, Moore was arrested for arson two-and-a-half blocks away from the site where the woman was found, the outlet reported.

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Roseville Police Department

“Ultimately, advancements in forensic techniques, coupled with investigative tenacity and teamwork resulted in the identification and apprehension of Richard Moore,” the City of Roseville wrote in a press release. (Roseville Police Department)

Moore was arrested in Los Angeles on June 27 by the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, according to the District Attorney’s office. He was appointed a public defender in court on Monday, and will next appear on July 22.

Moore was known as a helpful man who liked to ride his bike around Echo Park, sources in the Los Angeles neighborhood told the outlet. Last month, locals told the outlet, Moore found a lost cat and worked to find its owner.

“Credit goes to the cold case team,” Fujitani, the first detective on the case, told the Sacramento News & Review.

“He lived under the radar for years,” District Attorney Morgan Gire told the judge at Moore’s arraignment, the outlet reported. “He attacked the victim in the early morning hours, dragged her into an alley, sexually assaulted her, and then beat her to-death.”

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“Today has been a long time coming – justice hasn’t stopped,” the district attorney said. “The defendant committed a heinous crime in 1984 … And anyone who can commit that kind of crime, no matter their age – no matter the time that has passed since the crime – represents a danger to our community. And it is imperative that people capable of committing these kinds of crimes do not remain free while their case is pending.”

The judge agreed, and Moore was jailed without bail.

“Ultimately, advancements in forensic techniques, coupled with investigative tenacity and teamwork resulted in the identification and apprehension of Richard Moore,” the City of Roseville wrote in a press release.

Terri Middlekauf, Garcia’s oldest granddaughter, said Moore’s arrest was “bittersweet.”

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” she told the Sacramento News & Review. “I can only hope my grandkids remember me the way that I remember her.”



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