28 years after a strangled Santa Clara County woman's body was found tossed into a supermarket dumpster, the Mountain View Police Department (MVPD) and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office have arrested and charged a Fresno man in the cold case murder.
Investigators used a match on the state’s DNA database to identify Daniel Garcia, now 53, as the killer of Saba Girmai. After an investigation, Garcia was charged and arrested on Friday, January 4, 2013. Held without bail, he was scheduled to be arraigned January 7, 2013, in Palo Alto.
"Although there is still more investigative work to be done, the successful outcome of this decades-long investigation was only possible through the hard work and dedication of many investigators and law enforcement agencies. Hopefully this will help bring some closure to Ms. Girmai’s family," Mountain View Police Department Chief Scott S.G. Vermeer said. He added, “We never forget about unsolved murder cases and continuously seek out new technology and new leads to help us solve them.”
On January 18, 1985, a passerby found the body of the dead woman in the dumpster to the rear of the Bailey Park Plaza and Safeway shopping center at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, and reported it to police.
Eventually the deceased was identified as 21-year old Girmai, who was known to frequent the San Jose area. During the ensuing years, the investigation was frequently revisited but no significant leads were developed.
On Jan. 12, 2010, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Crime Laboratory developed a DNA profile from the victim’s fingernails. The resulting profile matched a convicted offender: Garcia. He had never previously been linked to Girmai.
In 2011, MVPD and the newly-created D.A.’s Cold Case Unit began to reinvestigate the case.
After being extensively interviewed by a MVPD detective and DA’s Office Investigator, Garcia was booked for murder.
The MVPD and participating agencies would like to thank the Fresno County Probation Department for their efforts in helping make this arrest possible.
“No matter how long ago someone was murdered, we don’t forget about them,’’ said Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani, who heads the Cold Case Unit.