HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 2
Page: 7 of 16
Text: A | A | A
All Chapter 2 Footnotes

“About 5’9’’, should have a flannel shirt and gray sweatshirt.”162Also, witnesses are saying he had a white untucked T-shirt. I don’t know if it’s another suspect.”163

In his next two BOLOs a few minutes later, Mejia seemed to have settled on the description from Baker: “Hispanic male, 5–9, gray sweatshirt, flannel shirt. No other information.”164 And then: “[g]ray sweatshirt and a flannel shirt.”165

Later, however, dispatcher Escochea added back in the other witnesses’ information, emphasizing that it contradicted the rest of the BOLO, and that he was uncertain about it. For example, twelve minutes after Wanda screamed, the BOLO said:

“Hispanic male, 5–9, wearing a flannel shirt and gray sweatshirt. Suspect last seen heading northbound on foot to the rear of the Shamrock. May possibly be wearing a white, long-sleeved T-shirt. That’s may possibly be.”166

Seven minutes later, the dispatcher asked Mejia for more information, and the sergeant again queried the witnesses.167 Julie can be heard in the background on the dispatch tape, pressing her case.168 Mejia reported “some people” saying that it was “a white shirt, possibly a white shirt.”169 Then came a trickle of grooming descriptions from the Arsuagas: “Clean shaven,”170 “medium-length curly hair,”171 then, nearly a minute later, “slightly wavy just a tiny bit.”172

Mejia’s final BOLO was broadcast at 8:32 p.m., twenty-two minutes after Wanda screamed.173 This time, Mejia combined the various details into what sounded like a consistent description of a single individual:

“A Hispanic male, 5–9, with flannel shirt, possibly a gray sweatshirt. It may possibly be a white T-shirt, also, long-sleeves. Clean-shaven, medium, wavy, ear-length hair. He was out there earlier looking for a ride to the Casino.”174

The first sentence was from Baker. The second and last were from Aguirre. The facial and head hair information was from Julie Arsuaga.175

Adding to the sense that the description was of a single person, Mejia never broadcast Baker’s information that the attacker he saw sprinting north behind the gas station sported had a full moustache and ten days’ growth of beard and had the unkempt look and shabby clothes of a derelict or homeless person.176 Nor did he mention the Arsuagas’ information that the white-shirted, clean-shaven man who jogged past them at a leisurely pace had disappeared behind Lebowitz Furniture over a football field in length east of the Sigmor and wore a button-down dress shirt and dark well-pressed pants.177

For the last eighteen minutes of the search, the police hunted a ghost, with features picked almost at random from three conflicting portraits, and not matching any actual account of the suspect’s clothes, grooming, velocity, or direction of travel.

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:13:51 (tape at 00:05:10) (“about 5–9, should have a flannel shirt and gray sweatshirt”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:16:36 (tape at 00:07:55) (“Also, witnesses are saying he had a white, untucked T-shirt. I don’t know if it’s another suspect or the same one. Long-sleeved shirt, untucked.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:18:10 (tape at 00:09:29) (“Hispanic male, 5–9, gray sweatshirt, flannel shirt. No other information.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:21:44 (tape at 00:12:03) (“Gray sweatshirt and a flannel shirt”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:22:32 (tape at 00:13:51) (“Disp: This is broadcast of armed robbery 27, just occurred 2602 South Padre, the Shamrock. Hispanic male, 5–9, wearing a flannel shirt and gray sweatshirt. Suspect last seen heading northbound on foot to the rear of the Shamrock. May possibly be wearing a white, long-sleeved T-shirt. That’s may possibly be. Said he was last seen by a witness in the 4900 block of Dodd, running through the yards.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:29:34 (tape at 00:20:53) (“Do you have a better description? Can you give us a better description?”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:29:37 (tape at 00:20:56) (recording the sound of a female voice talking to Mejia in the background).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:29:37 (tape at 00:20:56) (“We got some people down at [inaudible] a white shirt, possibly a white shirt”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:29:57 (tape at 00:21:16) (“Clean-shaven.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:30:05 (tape at 00:21:24) (“Medium-length curly hair, about 25 years of age.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:30:56 (tape at 00:22:15) (“Ok, it’s going to be slightly wavy just a tiny bit, it’s not going to be real curly.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:32:09 (tape at 00:23:28) (“A Hispanic male, 5–9, with flannel shirt, possibly a gray sweatshirt. It may possibly be a white T-shirt, also, long-sleeves. Clean-shaven, medium, wavy, ear-length hair. He was out there earlier looking for a ride to the Casino.”).

Police Dispatch Tape, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Feb. 4, 1983) at 8:32:09 (tape at 00:23:28);

see also Mark Schauer, Corpus Christi Police Officer Supplementary Report (Undated) at 1 (“The bolo advised the suspect . . . was around 5’9” wore dark pants and a flannel shirt . . . dark wavy, ear-length hair.”).

See supra notes 48, 82–83, 96, 155, 170–172 and accompanying text.

See supra notes 40, 45–47, and accompanying text.

See supra notes 92–99, and accompanying text.

Chapter 2
Page: 7 of 16