Man charged with two Central Coast cold-case murders

February 11, 2023

Tony Garcia


A man is in jail after DNA linked him to the 1981 murders of two Central Coast women, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 18, 1981, patrol deputies responded to the 700 block of Mobil Avenue in Camarillo, after the body of a woman was found in a carport. Rachel Zendejas, 20, had been kidnapped, raped and strangled.

On Dec. 12, 1981, firefighters battling an apartment fire in Oxnard found the body of Lisa Gondek, 21, in a bathtub. She had been strangled.

Rachel Zendejas and Lisa Gondek

In 2004, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Forensic Laboratory linked both cases to the same suspect through DNA.

In Dec. 2019, investigators identified 68-year-old Tony Garcia, a Navy veteran and former martial arts teacher, as a possible suspect. DNA analysis further confirmed Garcia likely killed both Zendejas and Gondek.

Deputies arrested Garcia last week. He was booked in a detention facility with his bail set at $2 million.

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Yes, it is amazing what a DNA test can revile! I’d say do one of Ancestry kits, it wont be long before the insurance companies will require it to lessen their risk. They already require a physical in some cases. Today people have parties to revile their baby to be sex, etc.

*reveal* not revile JE. Two totally different meanings. ;o)

Probably one of his relatives uploaded their DNA to one of those family history sites. Whoopsies!

These are very well known murder cases here in Ventura County. Wow, the power of DNA analysis. I hope this brings some peace to the families of the victims.