Body presumed to be missing girl’s

Acting on advice from a Chico State University botanist, Butte County sheriff’s deputies discovered last week the body of a girl they are virtually certain is 11-year-old Jeanene Bonner of Altadena, who was reported missing May 27.

The girl was found when deputies, puzzled by plant clues found in Bonner’s bloodstained jacket, enlisted the help of Kristina Schierenbeck, Ph.D., who helped identify the plants and gave investigators an idea of where those plants might be found.

Though dental records were not conclusive and DNA results were not available by press time, there was little doubt that the body was Jeanene’s, as the girl’s remains were found covered with a blanket a few miles from where her father, the last person known to have seen her, committed suicide. Jeanene’s father, Joaquin “Jack” Garcia, was found dead May 29 in the cab of his pickup beside Highway 32, a bullet hole in his forehead and a 9mm pistol in his lap. The girl’s jacket was on the seat beside him.

The girl was found about 30 yards from the highway with a bullet wound to the head, her body covered with a blanket that was held down with rocks and branches. She was in an area that deputies had already combed for clues, but, said Detective Sgt.Andy Duch, the blanket camouflaged the body so it could not be seen either from the road or by helicopter.

Garcia had picked up Jeanene from school for a trip to Lake Havasu, Ariz., that somehow ended with the pair staying at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas before making their ill-fated journey to Butte County. Sheriffs have yet to determine a motive for the shooting or figure out why the pair ended up traveling here.