Man charged with murder in 1997 disappearance

February 9, 2012 9:48:43 AM PST
Police believe they have solved a 15-year-old missing person case, and a man has been charged with murder, even though a body has never been found.

Richard Anthony Garza, 35, has been charged with murder, accused of killing of man who disappeared on January 22, 1997.

On January 25, 1997, Sergio Rocha was reported missing and hasn't been seen or heard from since. A Houston police officer investigating the cold case interviewed a woman who said that in 1997 she was living with Garza. She said that one night when she came home, there was a man's body there. Garza reportedly ordered her to clean up some blood as he and another man loaded the body in a truck. They all three reportedly buried him near a ravine.

The woman tried to take police to the location where the body was buried, but they were unable to find anything. A subdivision has since been built in the area.

The woman also told police that Garza told her that he and the other man were beating and strangling the victim. That alleged accomplice has admitted to police some involvement, and said he helped to bury the body because he was afraid of Garza.

Another witness told police the last time he saw Rocha was when they were buying drugs from a man he identified as Garza.

Garza has not yet been arrested on the murder charge, but bail has been set at $50,000.