Second suspect arrested in killing near Snohomish

EVERETT — Two men are now behind bars after being arrested for investigation of murder in the shooting death of a teenager outside of Snohomish.

Police believe one of the men shot Fernando Mendoza, 18, on July 2 and that they both hid the body.

Victor M. Garcia, 19, was arrested Wednesday for investigation of first-degree murder for his alleged role.

Police believe he and Edgar Alejandre, 20, went to buy bleach and gloves before Alejandre was planning to meet with Mendoza for a drug deal, according to court records.

Garcia allegedly told detectives that Alejandre hid a shotgun on a piece of property in the 3200 block of 159th Dr. SE near Snohomish. The Lynnwood man also told investigators that he watched Alejandre shoot Mendoza from close range, court papers said.

Detectives believe Garcia helped drag and conceal the body into the woods off Dubuque Road, northeast of Snohomish. He also is believed to have helped dump the victim’s car in a Marysville parking lot in an attempt to cover up the crime, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

Garcia allegedly was given $1,000 in exchange for his silence, court papers said.

Detectives believe he attempted to mislead detectives, Ireton said.

Investigators believe the area where Mendoza was shot was hosed down after the shooting and the bleach was used to destroy evidence, court papers said.

A judge in Everett District Court on Thursday set Garcia’s bail at $2 million.

It was the second arrest this week in connection with the homicide.

Federal marshals on Monday arrested Alejandre in Oxnard, Calif., about an hour west of Los Angeles. Investigators believe he’d been on the run since July.

The deadly shooting came to the attention of sheriff’s detectives during the Labor Day weekend when Mendoza’s remains were found. The teenager had been shot three times in the chest with a shotgun.

A man-tracking team found drag patterns leading to the burial site from an area near a house on 159th Drive SE. Alejandre had been staying at the house with friends.

Detectives believe Mendoza was killed July 2. That was the day that the Burlington teen told relatives that he was going to Everett to collect on a drug debt, court papers said. He said he’d be back shortly for another appointment. He never returned. His family reported him missing the next day.

Before he died, Mendoza was awaiting trial in Skagit County Superior Court. He had been charged with dealing cocaine in 2010, according to court records.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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