Medical examiner: Goliad man's death ruled a homicide

Johnathan Silver By Johnathan Silver

July 12, 2014 at 2:12 a.m.
Updated July 13, 2014 at 2:13 a.m.

The mourning process for friends, loved ones and acquaintances of Christoval Lee Garza now has a new dimension - his death has been ruled a homicide.

"You just think nothing happens like that in Goliad," said Gena Fennell Hinsley, who was a friend of Garza and knew him in high school.

Garza, who was 38 and from Goliad, was found dead July 4 on Warrick Road, behind a grain elevator and near a Dollar General store on East Pearl Street. Authorities would not rule it a homicide then, instead saying they found Garza with an injury to his head, and it appeared he had slipped, fell and hit the concrete.

The Goliad County Sheriff's Office received additional information following a medical examiner's report, which revealed that Garza's death was from blunt force trauma to the torso, said Goliad County Sheriff Kirby Brumby.

Brumby said his office treated the death as a homicide, adding that such deaths are treated that way until evidence shows otherwise. His office has been following numerous leads, he said, not offering more details to protect the investigation.

No arrests have been made.

"It is a very active investigation at this point," he said.

Garza's death is still fresh, said Hinsley, who lives in Dallas.

"The most you see is somebody gets mad and accidentally curses somebody," she said about people in Goliad, which has a population of about 1,900. "Actually killing somebody - that doesn't happen, especially not to somebody like Chris."

Garza was affectionate, Hinsley added.

"He went out of his way to help anybody he could," she said. "If he saw you doing something, he would stop and say 'Hey, do you need help?' He's just a good guy."

Goliad resident Mary Jane Segura lost someone who was like a brother to her and a son to her parents. She remembered clinging to anger shortly after his death.

"I did have a lot of hatred, but I have learned to come to grips with that," Segura said. "After going to his funeral, I felt a sense of peace."

Now, she wants to use her newfound peace as an opportunity to positively reflect on her "brother's" life. She plans to do that Aug. 2 with a balloon release in honor of Garza at the Goliad County Fairgrounds, which will give her parents, who are disabled and could not make it Garza's funeral, a chance to attend a memorial for their "son."

"It's been really taking a toll on them, so I decided to do something," she said. "With this, I felt they could have a little closure."



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