Hours after Stephen Garcia and his 9-month-old son's bodies were discovered on a San Bernardino hiking trail, dead from an apparent murder-suicide, his Facebook profile announced activity: Stephen Garcia had uploaded a suicide note and video tribute to his family.
Police are now puzzling over reams of obsessive, threatening internet content and searching for the person who broadcast Stephen's dying status updates. Tracing Stephen's footsteps now, the self-portrait of an abuser emerges.
The Associated Press reports that 25-year-old Stephen Garcia threatened murder-suicide during a court-ordered visit with son Wyatt mere days before going through with the act; their bodies were found early Sunday. Eight hours later, a third person posted a suicide note and photo tribute to Garcia's Facebook account. AP continues:
The memorial features a photo of Garcia and his son sleeping peacefully on a Mickey Mouse pillow, with the dates of their births and joint death overlaid in white cursive script.
A message at the bottom reads, in part, "There! Now we're sleeping with you ... Find it in your heart to forgive me. It's my job to protect him. I know God will welcome our son with open arms."
Wyatt's mother Katie requested a restraining order against Stephen in December, but was rejected on Jan. 12 because there was no "threat to petitioner or the minor child." But in the weeks leading up to his death, Stephen documented his prolific, threatening, and obsessive attempts to win Katie back on Facebook and a website seemingly erected specifically for antagonizing Katie, Detrimentalind.com, where he scoffed at the failed restraining order:
I will do what I must. Drag me to court. Get your stupid "restraining orders" pifft, can't stop love.
Though Stephen's suicide note wasn't unlocked on the Facebook profile I found—at vanity URL facebook.com/ StephenKatieWyatt—the profile picture appears to be the same sleeping portrait Stephen edited for his farewell. Of the five publicly available videos this account uploaded, three are of baby "WyWy" and two are photo montages: One dedicated to "Wyatt James Arthur Garcia!! 04-04-2009" and one for "Our Family," featuring mostly photos of Katie. Music choice in the former includes the retrospectively ominous "If You Don't Love Me By Now."
"Our Family" depicts Stephen and Katie snowboarding, playing beer pong, and lying in bed with Wyatt. (It will also give you a visceral disgust for all songs by the Postal Service.) I'm pretty sure there are two babies in this; the first one, with dark hair, doesn't look like Wyatt, does he?
On his website, Stephen painstakingly archived reams of text messages, "love" letters, and curse-word strewn rants. The message at the top of the page seems to acknowledge the coming suicide:
A part of me wants to post every text, letter, recording, myspace screenshot, facebook screenshot of what Katie did to me and our son but I will not. Its not my goal to destroy Katie or make her mad. At first I wanted to so bad for what she did to us but now all I have left for her is love.
(to whoever it may concern: Everything is on my computer.)
In a letter to Katie, he apologizes for abuse (emphasis mine):
I'm sorry for cheating on you. I'm sorry for hurting you. I'm sorry for hitting you. I'm sorry I made the wrong choices. I'm sorry I didn't fight for you. I'm sorry I let you walk out. [...] I'm sorry I said bad things about you when I got angry. Most of all I am sorry for not being sorry sooner. Katie it's not too late.
He describes his mission to win Katie back as life-or-death and blames her for "necessary evil":
I am crazy, crazy in love, YOU did this to me. YOU. I'm not psycho, I'm not obsessive, I'm not a stalker (necessary evil, I NEEDED TO KNOW THE TRUTH) [...] I am a human being and now I have my blood in a 9 month old life. My heart and mind can only take so much as a living breathing person, Katie. How much do you want / need to keep killing me?
Though Stephen swears "IM. NOT. GOING. TO. HURT. YOU. OR. WYATT," at one point he imagines his and Wyatt's deaths as the consequence for breaking a pledge:
I SWEAR on Wyatt JAMES Arthur Garcia's LIFE, his FUCKING soul, HIS WELL BEING. May he become ill and DIE. I SWEAR on my LIFE, SOUL, WELL BEING, may I DIE, NEVER be joined with my son in heaven, BURN forever in HELL and never EVER hold my BEAUTIFUL baby again. I SWEAR on all my family and friends lives. I SWEAR on YOUR life Katie. I SWEAR on my fucking LOVE for you, BABE.
Garcia's deeply disturbing website and Facebook profile are both still up. Still unknown: Whether authorities were contacted about Stephen's more recent threats; Katie's status; why Stephen was with Wyatt on the day of their deaths; how the hell this man was allowed within a 100-mile radius of his son. [AP] [Facebook] [Detrimentalind]
Update: Katie's family says the tragedy was avoidable, details from court proceedings denying the restraining order, and quotes from a Choose Your Own Adventure-style short story Stephen wrote depicting murder-suicide as punishment for Katie refusing his advances. [Hi-Desert Star]