HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 10
Page: 7 of 14
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All Chapter 10 Footnotes

The killer left behind something more telling than a button and a cigarette butt.

In their photographs113 and reports, Infante and Escobedo focus a lot on a bloody trail of small bare footprints from behind the counter through the flap-door to the front door.114 From the size of the feet and presence of Wanda's upturned sandals behind the counter, it's clear that the footprints record her tortured exit from the store before collapsing into Kevan Baker's arms just outside.115

But the photos record someone else's steps as well.

Photographs taken inside the store show a complete print of a right shoe stamped in thick blood, what may be a bloody print of a shoe heel, and another shoe smudge.116 Those prints head in the same direction as Wanda's prints, from behind the counter out towards the front door.

Another photo, taken outside the Sigmor, shows what may be two bloody prints of a man, on the balls of his feet, sprinting along the sidewalk away from the front door—exactly the escape route Baker saw the fleeing killer use.117 There was little Garza could say about those marks. Because Escobedo never investigated the killer's flight path outside the door, she never even spotted these marks, or measured or photographed them close-up.118 She didn't even cordon off the sidewalk where Baker said the killer had fled, and other photos show police officers trampling the site.119 No one will ever know whether the reddish smudges are shoe prints—and if so, whose.

Eddie Garza, however, had a lot to say about the shoe prints inside the store, where only Wanda and the killer had been.120

Clearly visible in the photographs is a bloody smudge on the concrete floor of the back storeroom121 where the attacker tried to pull Wanda Lopez as she resisted.122 The skid marks on the floor show that Lopez had planted her feet near the stacked soda cases and that the attacker held her and gave her three violent tugs towards the back room.123

The smudge may be a print the killer left while standing inside the storeroom and pulling Wanda towards him. In between that smudge and Wanda's skid marks is a large pool of blood and Wanda's right shoe, evidently where Baker saw the attacker "thr[o]w [Lopez] on the floor" and "start[ ]toward the front door."124

The full print of a right shoe cast in blood is in the passageway through the clerk's counter, about where you'd stand after raising the counter top to unlatch the half-door through the counter platform.125 The possible heel print is just behind it.126 Both face away from the clerk's area on a path to the front door.127

Crime Scene Photograph 25500012, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500003, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) (trail of bloody footprints);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500014, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) (similar);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500021, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) (similar).

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) ("I saw that there was a trail of blood, and foot prints in blood, leading from behind the counter, heading toward the door, this trial of blood was approximately 134 1/2" from the door edge to the lower right hand corner of the counter, it varied in width from 14" to 19" in different locations along the way.");

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("Later more photos were taken in side of the area behind the counter where a struggle took place.").

Crime Scene Photograph 25500014, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Olivia Escobedo, Corpus Christi Police Detective in Wanda Lopez and Dahlia Sauceda Cases, Supplementary Report (Feb. 5, 1983) at 1:

A brown slap (shoe) brown leather type strap with burlap material trim on the soles, shoe was found on the floor behind the counter; shoe was approximately one foot away from a soft drink display which was also located beside the counter . . . Evidence tag # 40147. . . . A brown slap (shoe) brown leather type strap with burlap material trim on the soles, this is the companion shoe to Evidence tag # 40147, shoe was found laying close to the opened door leading to the storage room, shoe was observed to be laying upside down, and the sole of the shoe is bloodied. . . Evidence tag # 40155 [and describing the trail of the victim's bloody footprints running from behind the counter to the front door of the Sigmor store].

Joel Infante, Corpus Christi Police Identification Technician, Field Investigation Report (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("When I arrived the ambulance was still out there and a girl was being treated in front of the gas station. I photographed the area including the victim.");

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("I approached the lady coming out the front door. She had blood all over her. She fell into the building and I helped her on down to the ground. All she said was, 'Help me, help me.'");

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 36−37 ("She just kind of come against me, and then fell back into the building and started sliding down the side of the window right by the front door, and I seen the blood and she kept trying to get up and I kind of forced her to the ground so that she would lay down and remain calm. She said 'Help me. Help me.'");

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 274 ("A. I turned around and met the store clerk at the door, she had made it that far. Q. Okay. Did she say anything to you? A. She said, 'Help me. Help me.' Q. What did she do then? A. Fell back against the store window and slid to the ground.");

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:20:14–01:20:31 ("To me, the way the shoes were found there was one found in one area, one was upside, the other one was right-side up. Indicates that she was running for her life and actually ran out of her shoes just trying to get away from the perpetrator.").

See Crime Scene Photograph 25500019, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

infra Figure 28, 29.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500033, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) (revealing red marks shaped like the front half of a shoe on the sidewalk outside the Sigmor east of the doorway);

infra Figure 27; see Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 270, 281 ("I was standing here on the curb or just off the curb and he come around and said, 'Don't mess with me,' and took off."; "Q. Okay. And which way did he run? A. He ran to the left—it would be to my right or to his left . . . ."Q. Okay, when you say, 'he ran,' do you mean a fast run or a sprint, a jog, a lope, a trot? A. I would say a sprint. Q. He was running pretty fast? A. Yes, sir.");

supra Chapter 2, notes 39–40 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:47:50–01:48:15 ("Q. Would there be an expectation to find trace evidence outside the store itself? A. You would look for that in your trail of blood. Trail of blood and from eyewitnesses that said, 'hey, the offender ran that way.'" And then you would follow your crime scene over to where the offender was apprehended.").

Crime Scene Photograph 25500004, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500020, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500022, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500029, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500034, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500035, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) (all showing the sidewalk outside the Sigmor store, without police tape or otherwise cordoned off, with police officers standing or walking on all segments of it) ;

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:42:50:

I feel that if you do not protect a crime scene and let the proper people from the identification division come in and just seal that scene until they're satisfied that they've picked up every bit of the evidence that is available in the crime that supposedly was committed. I think that the identification section plays the most major role in solving any type of homicide because, to me, if I was to take you back to the scene of this particular time, Wanda Lopez at the 2600 block of S.P.I.D., the crime scene was not protected enough, it was not secured enough. The identification people that actually processed the scene for evidence did not use the proper way that I would have requested that a crime scene be searched and protected for evidence. It could have been lifted from the place.

Tamara Theiss's Notes on Interview with Olivia Escobedo, Lead Detective on the Dahlia Sauceda and Wanda Lopez Murders (Feb. 27. 2005) at 2:

As the lead investigator, my first responsibility was to secure the crime scene. I think I responded around 7 p.m. [sic, 8:15 p.m.] to the scene, and it took me at least three hours [sic, she finished less than two hours after arriving] to process everything. I had to do everything myself. Back then, we didn't have any crime scene technicians or equipment. The responding investigator had to do everything on his or her own. I remember that all we had was a little kit we carried around in the trunks of our cars. We didn't have any police tape to secure the scenes. We just had to yell at people to stay back and not step on our crime scenes. I think I had the help of a fingerprint technician, but no one else.

See, e.g., Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 01:28:42–01:29:35:

Again, there was footprints and imprints in the blood at the crime scene. If the offender would have been at that crime scene, definitely there would have been a transfer of blood to the soles of the shoes, the sides of the shoes, or even the shoelaces would have had some type of blood splatters, as much blood as was at the crime scene. The offender would have had some type of transfer over to his shoes if he was wearing them inside the place. And, probably the length of the shoe itself should have been taken at the time and entered into documentation in the report of the officer investigating the case.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500037, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983).

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Statement to Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) at 1 ("Before I could start to pump gas I heard this bang inside the store. I looked up and I seen this man pulling this lady from behind the counter by the hair. . . . She appeared to be the clerk. When I seen him pulling her by the hair I first thought they were playing, then I noticed he was really pulling her. She was bent over and he was trying to force her into the back room.");

see Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 26, 27−28, 34 ("Q. What did you do when you heard the bang on the window? A. I just went ahead and squeezed—I had the nozzle in my trunk or in my gas tank I just went ahead and squeezed it to see if the nozzle would work or if it would pump gas and it didn't, so then I looked up and saw two people wrestling inside the store."; "the gentleman was trying to pull the girl into the back room"; "that's when I saw them wrestling");

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 267−68, 270, 280−81:

Q. And what did you see? . . .

A. I saw a man and a woman fighting. . . . [The man] was pulling her hair and I thought they were playing at first, that was my first impression, boyfriend/girlfriend.

Q. And was there anything to change your mind about that?

A. Yeah, the longer—longer I stood there, the more seconds I stood there, I realized they weren't playing.

Q. Did either one of them appear to be trying to accomplish some aim?

A. Yes, the gentleman was trying to—definitely pulling the lady by the hair, trying to—apparently pull her through the door into the rear of the store.

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 268−69 ("The gentleman had the lady . . . and [was] trying hard to get her into the back of the store."; the man was "pulling" the girl "towards the back door toward, I suppose, a storage room, and she was doing all she could to hold herself back"; the man was trying to "apparently pull her through the door into the rear of the store . . . this door right here . . . . She was trying to hold herself back.").

Crime Scene Photograph 25500007, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500009, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500010, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500037, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500038, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

(all showing three sets of skid marks moving progressively towards the back room and away from the stack of soda cases).

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Pretrial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 20, 1983) at 27−28, 36−37 ("[T]he gentleman was trying to pull the girl into the back room and as I started walking toward the door, the gentleman threw her on the floor"; Baker "turned" and "started towards the door"; "as I was walking toward the door, the Defendant or the—the girl in this case was throwed to the floor and the Defendant met me at the door.");

Kevan Baker, Witness to Attack on Wanda Lopez, Trial Test., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. July 18, 1983) at 270, 280 ("The gentleman had the lady—apparently knew I was there and trying hard to get her into the back of the store and as I turned and saw them and started walking toward the door, he threw her down and proceeded to meet me at the door"; "I walked toward the door and he threw her to the floor and met me at the door");

see supra Chapter 2, notes 30–33 and accompanying text; supra Chapter 4, notes 74–75 and accompanying text.

Crime Scene Photograph 25500028, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983);

Crime Scene Photograph 25500030, Corpus Christi Police Dep't (Feb. 4, 1983) (reproduced infra Figure 26).

See supra note 125.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Eddie Garza, Corpus Christi Police Detective, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 6, 2004) at 00:59:14–01:00:00:

Th[e] person [who made this print] was walking away from the cash register, and it would have to be the offender because, according to other photographs, the victim was wearing some type of shower clogs which had no heel, it was just a straight, flat bottom. This is [a] heel print from a shoe. I would be looking, if I were the investigator, I would be looking very, very closely to try to match that heel print right there to the shoes that the offender would have been wearing. And being stepping into blood, you know that his shoes, at time of arrest, had to have some type of blood on them if there was this much blood at the scene.

Chapter 10
Page: 7 of 14