Huffpost Los Angeles

Couple Sought In Dismemberment Case Arrested

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LOS ANGELES — A Pennsylvania couple wanted in the slaying of a man who was cut into pieces and stashed in a backpack and under a bed in a downtown hotel room was arrested Friday, authorities said.

A fugitive task force arrested Edward and Melissa Garcia at about 3:45 p.m, said Matt Brown, a supervisor with the U.S. Marshals Service.

They had been staying in an abandoned building in Hollywood and were living in squalid conditions, surrounded by trash, human waste and syringes. Both appeared to have sores on their faces caused by drug use, Brown said.

"They were asleep when we kicked the door in," Brown said. "They were coherent but they looked like they were on the downside of a drug binge."

Edward Garcia Jr., 36, and Melissa Hope Garcia, 25, who also goes by the name of Melissa Turner, have been charged with murder and the special circumstances of torture in the Thanksgiving killing of Herbert Tracy White, 49, of Los Angeles. A maid found his dismembered body stuffed in a backpack and under a bed in the Continental Hotel in the seedy downtown Skid Row area.

The couple from York, Pa., had several previous arrests for robbery in that state. Authorities believe they were trying to rob White, who had befriended them and gave them money.

Investigators believe the couple were going to take away White's body but were interrupted. The hotel room was rented by the Garcias.

Brown said authorities learned of the Garcias' whereabouts through tips, including information from York. Several homeless people were staying in the same abandoned building where they were found.

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