Victoria County Sheriff’s deputies think they have found the vehicle that fatally hit an 11-year-old Bloomington boy two years ago, but they have not arrested the person suspected of being behind the wheel.
According to a search warrant affidavit a judge unsealed Tuesday, an inmate at the Victoria County Jail told the deputies in May that his cousin fatally hit Kevin Garza as he was walking to school on SH 185 the morning of Sept. 27, 2016. The deputies then corroborated that inmate’s story with another inmate at the Brazos County Jail in Bryan.
The second inmate said the suspect was driving a black 2012 Ford Mustang that belonged to his girlfriend’s mother.
Although the suspect is named in the affidavit, the Advocate is not naming him because he has not been charged in the case.
“He said (the suspect) told him that he was up all night and that he was still under the influence at the time of the accident. He said that (the suspect) told him that he didn’t know what he had hit until he saw it on the news later that evening,” according to the affidavit.
The deputies found photos of both the suspect and his girlfriend on Facebook with the Mustang and received surveillance footage from a resident who lives at the corner of SH 185 and Key Road. That footage depicts a Mustang going north on SH 185 about the same time Garza was struck while walking south.
The Mustang was repossessed in February 2017 and has since been sold to a man living in Cleveland, Israel Munoz Martinez.
The deputies got a warrant to seize the car from his property. The judge gave them permission to take the Mustang by a wrecker service to the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, where the deputies were to collect historical location and communication data from it as well as have a technician inspect its exterior for signs that it had been involved in this hit and run.
Munoz Martinez, 37, said in an interview through a translator Tuesday that he bought the Mustang from a dealership 11 months ago. He said the sheriff’s office has since given it back to him and he continues to drive it.
“I felt bad because I had no idea,” Munoz Martinez said about how he felt when he learned the Mustang could be involved in a fatality.
The suspect in this case has not been convicted of a crime before, records show. When the Advocate reached out to the suspect by Facebook and telephone Tuesday, a woman, who declined to be identified, returned the call and said the suspect was working and did not want to give an interview.
Kevin’s family also declined to be interviewed.
When the Advocate first became aware of the affidavit, the judge sealed it for 30 days.
The sheriff’s office declined to release additional information about the ongoing case, which the Texas Department of Public Safety is assisting on.
“To discuss this case at this time could jeopardize the integrity and outcome of the investigation,” Chief Deputy Roy Boyd wrote in a statement to the newspaper.
In an email, District Attorney Stephen Tyler added, “Sometimes when pursuing a lead, it leads nowhere. The officers continue to investigate this matter.”
For Brent Casey, a 66-year-old Sinton man, not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about Kevin.
“I’m a retired firefighter and EMT, but that young man took a piece of my heart with him,” Casey said.
Casey stopped on his way to work at Invista the morning of Sept. 27, 2016, to give Kevin CPR. He thinks Kevin must have been lying unresponsive on the road for at least 10 minutes as cars drove by without stopping to render aid.
When Casey learned that sheriff’s deputies had identifed a suspect, he rejoiced.
“All I can say is ‘Praise God,’” Casey said. “It won’t bring Kevin back, but it should bring some closure.”