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21 years later, woman identified using her DNA and search for killer begins

21 years later, woman identified using her DNA and search for killer begins
Holly Garcia (OCSO)

In a major breakthrough in a 21-year-old cold case, a woman whose skeletal remains were discovered in 2003 by landscapers in Christmas, Florida, has been identified using advanced DNA technology.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said the victim was Holly Garcia, a 22-year-old wife and mother who lived in east Orlando.

Although jewelry was found with the remains, Garcia was never reported missing.

Read: Florida police solve 37-year-old case, identify ex-firefighter's killer

The case remained cold until 2022, when a grant from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System allowed the sheriff's office to partner with Othram Labs. Forensic genetic genealogy, a technique analyzing DNA to identify relatives, led to a match in 2023 and Garcia's official identification in March 2024.

Investigators are now searching for Garcia's husband, Miguel Angel Garcia-Rivera, and are seeking information from anyone who knew Holly Garcia or has details about her life and the circumstances of her disappearance and death.

Miguel Ángel García-RiveraMiguel Ángel García-Rivera
Miguel Ángel García-Rivera

The case, once a cold mystery, is now the subject of an active homicide investigation.

“We are grateful and happy that she was identified, but we are starting from scratch more than 20 years later to find out what happened to her,” said Det. Chelsey Koepsell/

If you knew Holly Garcia or have any information about her life or the circumstances of her death, please contact the Orange County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit at (407) 836-4357 or Crimeline at 800 -423-TIPS (8477).

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