Book highlights Rock County's unsolved murders
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BELOIT Terri Garcia’s friend was stabbed to death in 1988, and for the next 20 years his killer remained on the run.
That experience is the motivation behind Garcia’s new book, “Rock County’s Unsolved Murders.”
Garcia, of Beloit, recently finished the three-year project, but for the families of those featured in the book, there is no similar sense of conclusion.
“Rock County’s Unsolved Murders” features information about 27 unsolved murders as well as a missing person case. The cases date back to 1969.
“Each chapter is for one victim,” Garcia said. “I also added a missing person’s case, so (the victim) gets more exposure for his case.”
Garcia said she did research online, combed through newspaper articles and did interviews, including some with the family members of victims, to gather information for the book.
“It was sad and interesting at the same time,” she said. “Some (cases) were more graphic than others. One (victim) had a baby who was upstairs in a crib for a day and a half or two days before the landlord discovered it. Thank God they didn’t hurt the baby, but that case kind of stuck with me.
“I learned about our community and how many unsolved murders there are in Rock County alone.”
Garcia’s friend, David Landwehr of Beloit, was stabbed to death in 1988. The suspect in Landwehr’s murder, Ezequiel Lopez-Zavala, was not found until about 20 years later, after he was stopped for a traffic violation in Bellevue, Wash. Zavala was extradited to Wisconsin and pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.
“So, he’s in jail now, but he only got 15 years, and I don’t think that’s too fair because Dave has been dead about 24 years, and (the suspect) got 20 years on the run,” she said. “Now he’s (Lopez-Zavala) not going to sit (in prison) long.”
Providing new leads?
The cases in Garcia’s book have remained open and when additional information is provided, further investigation is done, said Capt. Todd Christiansen of the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.
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