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Bombshell: Missing Maricela Garcia’s drug addiction may have led to her abduction, PI says

by Alan Duke, Reporter & 'Crime Stories With Nancy Grace' Co-host

Los Angeles investigators have new leads in the disappearance of Maricela Garcia, a 26-year-old southern California woman who went missing while shopping at a Goodwill store on January 12, 2017. She told her sister she was going outside to smoke, but she never returned. While detectives still don’t know what happened to Garcia or where she might now be, information shared by a tipster suggests her disappearance is related to her addiction to heroin, according to private investigator Tanya Kitchen, who was hired by her family.

Maricela’s ex-boyfriend, who the family blames for her drug addiction, has not been located in recent weeks but he is believed to be in New Mexico, Kitchen said. The private investigator said she suspects Maricela could have been abducted by drug traffickers who are owed money by the boyfriend.

Although Garcia was trying to stay sober and clean of drugs — and away from the boyfriend — she apparently bought drugs from a dealer she knew through the boyfriend less than 24 hours before she disappeared.

In the first weeks after Garcia disappeared, her sister told CrimeOnline that Maricela had no direct connection to Reseda, California, a community in the San Fernando valley of Los Angeles, where she was last seen. However, we have now confirmed she was an outpatient at the methadone treatment center on the same block and she attended the church also on the block. A tracking dog indicated Maricela went inside the church and sat in a pew after leaving the Goodwill store. Two churchgoers said they saw her inside the church that night praying and then leaving in a panic.

Crimes Stories with Nancy Grace” talks to the Garcia family spokeswoman Misti Patten about the new information in the search for missing Maricela Garcia.

[Feature Photo: Handout]

Alan’s journalism career began as a way to pay for his plan to become a lawyer, but he soon realized being a courtroom reporter was a lot more fun than sitting at a defense table. Duke covered many of the nation’s most sensational crime stories over his 26 years at CNN. Duke’s closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat, much of his time was spent talking to cops, coroners and lawyers. His reporting on the investigation that followed Michael Jackson’s death — and two subsequent trials — included many revelations about the singer’s life and death.   Since leaving CNN in 2014, Duke has contributed to the Reelz Channel “Copycat Killers” documentary series. He is a co-founder and editor-in-chief for LeadStories.com.