As the trial for Sandra Garcia and her son, Mark Anthony Roque, enters its second week, the accused kidnapping victim and her sister joined the witness stand on Monday.
Witnesses and Digital Evidence Take Center Stage in 2016 Clovis Kidnapping Trial
The prosecution called witnesses in the trial against Garcia and Roque as they sat in court.
The two are charged with abducting Garcia’s ex-boyfriend’s thirteen-year-old daughter.
Action News is unable to identify the victim or reveal her face. She was briefly called back to the witness stand to describe in graphic detail how, in February 2016, she claims she was sexually attacked with a stick and chained to a tree.
But a significant portion of the testimony Monday morning, beginning with the moment Garcia’s phone was confiscated as evidence, was devoted to mobile devices.
According to Lt. Jeff Kertson of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, “She was not happy, raising her voice, demanding her phone back, and ultimately she ended up storming out of the front doors of the lobby.”
At times, a digital forensics expert addressed the jury directly to describe what happens when detectives extract data from a phone.
According to Kenneth Kalar of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, “so we’re investigating the texts or phone numbers a person calls, and we go through and look for that data or evidence, and then once we find that evidence we’re looking for, we can extract it to a report.”
The victim’s younger sister was then asked to speak in court about the morning of the incident; she cannot be named or seen.
Testimony Reveals Tensions in Family Dynamics Before 2016 Clovis Kidnapping Trial
She recalled that her sister couldn’t find her cell phone before going for school, and that her father had left town for business that morning.
The victim’s sister added, “I felt that the household dynamic got worse when he was gone. “I believe she was under stress because she had classes to go to and couldn’t find her phone.”
She claimed that only a few weeks earlier, her father had decided to end his relationship with Garcia due to tensions between her and his daughters.
According to the victim’s sister, “Towards the end of 2015, he felt like we weren’t really happy in the relationship they were having, so that’s why it ended.”
Adam Christopherson, the district attorney for Fresno County, asked, “Were you unhappy with the relationship they had at the end of 2015?”
“Yes,” the victim’s sister answered.
According to the prosecution, Garcia planned the kidnapping after Johan Gidstedt kicked her out of his Clovis house.
For offences connected to the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault, Garcia and Roque each risk life in prison.