Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Suspects in dismemberment of man in L.A. hotel room 'armed and dangerous'

December 8, 2010 |  2:41 pm

Melissa Hope Garcia, left, and Edward Garcia. Jr., are suspected of killing Herbert Tracy White.

A Pennsylvania couple wanted in the slaying and dismemberment of a Hollywood man, whose limbs were removed in a downtown hotel, are at large and considered armed and dangerous, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.

Los Angeles Police Department officials are asking for the public’s help tracking down Edward Garcia Jr., 36, and his wife, Melissa Hope Garcia, 25, said LAPD Homicide Det. Richard Arciniega.

A maid at the Continental Hotel told police she found body parts Nov. 29 tucked inside a backpack that was left behind in a room at the East 7th Street hotel, where the couple was staying.

Police, who said they also found body parts wrapped in a blanket under the bed, later identified the victim as Herbert Tracy White, 49.

A hotel security guard reported receiving a complaint about a commotion in the room, probably when Herbert was attacked, police said. But when the guard went to the room, the couple promised they’d keep quiet.

White apparently met the couple in Hollywood, befriended them and gave them money, Arciniega said. “They all went to the hotel together but the room was actually rented by the Garcias,” he said.

Police in York, Pa., said they are investigating a similar case in the couple’s home state. They said the victim in that case was not killed but declined to give further details. Arciniega said the couple have a criminal record in York for robbery and drug-related charges.

Continental Hotel representatives declined to comment.

White, a handyman, lived with his wife and two dogs in Hollywood. He was in his 15th year of sobriety and was inclined to help people he encountered on the street, said his younger brother, David White.

“He would accept you first, then run your résumé later,” he said “He was looking forward to being the sober driver for the holidays, and I believe that’s what cost him his life.”

An older brother, Anthony DeMarco White, also speculated that his brother’s generosity led to his death. “My brother didn’t have to die like this," he said, "he didn’t have to die like this at all.”

White’s wife, Annie Coty White, 73, said the last time she saw her husband was in the middle of the night when he received a phone call from a person asking for a ride.

“I asked who it was and he said, ‘Oh you know those crazy Hollywood types,’ ” she said. “My husband hated drunk drivers.”

She said she believes he left to meet the Garcias that night.

She said police found the car he was driving parked near the Continental but did not recover the keys.


Maid finds body parts scattered around L.A. hotel room, in backpack

-- Nardine Saad

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report

Photos: Homicide suspects Melissa Hope Garcia and Edward Garcia. Jr., who are suspected of killing Herbert Tracy White. Credit: Associated Press / Pennsylvania Police Department