Torres' father held to answer for child molestation, rape


Garcia Fernandez was arrested last July on numerous counts of sexual child molestation. A little more than nine months later, Sierra disappeared, and now his son is charged with her murder.

Garcia Fernandez is accused of crimes which could send him to prison for the rest of his life. His son is accused of a murder which makes him eligible for the death penalty. The journey of father and son have collided in the court system.

"It sometimes is passed on and sometimes it is not," said Deputy District Attorney Murat Ozgur. "It's one of those things that is very much unpredictable, just like sexual abuse itself."

Prosecutors say Garcia Torres kidnapped and murdered 15-year-old Sierra in March. His father is now accused of crimes that date back decades. Investigators arrested Garcia Fernandez last year for raping and sexually molesting a family member starting in 1990 when she was between the ages of 5 and 14.

A very young Garcia Torres heard about the accusations during a family confrontation when the abuse was happening, but at the time, Garcia Fernandez denied everything by swearing on a Bible before his family.

Ozgur says abusers are often convincing. "They will swear to God, they will swear on their family, they will swear on their mother, they will swear on everything, and that denial is very, very common," he said.

Detectives say last year, Garcia Fernandez confessed to the crimes in a recorded phone conversation and even wrote a letter of apology to his victim. In powerful testimony Wednesday, the now-adult woman said she came forward last year because she was afraid another generation of young girls in the family could become victims as well.

"They have now a new family member that may be exposed to this risk that oftentimes does trigger a disclosure," said Ozgur.

The judge ordered Garcia Fernandez to be held to answer on 25 counts of child molestation, including seven counts of raping a young girl.

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