By Marlene Newell
Contributions from Linda Smith and Jane Hamilton
Todd told Officer Hicks the following, as found in Hicks’ trial testimony:
GERAGOS: Okay. Then he says on Christmas day when he road by he noticed that 516 Covena appeared to be empty; is that right?
HICKS: That's correct.
GERAGOS: And 516 Covena is the Medina's house, right?
GERAGOS: Okay. And he says he noticed it because there was only one car in the driveway, right?
GERAGOS: Which he described as being either a Mercedes or a BMW, right?
GERAGOS: Okay. And he said he also noticed that the mail in the mail box; is that right?
GERAGOS: And he could see when he's riding his bike down the street, not only the car, but that he could see mail in the mail box, right?
My previous article, The Medina Mailbox, proves that Todd could not have seen any mail in the Medina mailbox on December 25, 2002.
But that wasn’t the only lie Todd told Hicks. He also told him that he spent Christmas Day with his kids, family, and friends on Tioga.
FLADAGER: Initially, in your interview with Mr. Todd, he told you what he was doing at Christmas day; is that right?
FLADAGER: And did he tell you that after he had ridden from his mother's house, he is driven down to Covena, he noticed what he noticed about the Covena, the home, thinking maybe no one was home there, that he went back to his residence and met with his friend Pearce. Did he tell you that?
FLADAGER: And did he tell you, then, that he rode over to his kids' house on Tioga?
FLADAGER: And did he tell you that he stayed there with friends and family?
However, Todd’s kids did not live on Tioga Dr. on Christmas Day, 2002.
Public records show that Elizabeth Garcia, Todd’s ex-wife and mother of his children, lived at 1131 TIOGA DR APT A, MODESTO, CA 95354-4264 from 06/1991 - 12/1992. Other public records show that Garcia and the children lived at 2120 RAMROD AVE APT 211, HENDERSON, NV 89014-2009 from 01/2001 - 09/2006. Ancestry.com’s “U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002” lists Las Vegas as her city of residence in 2001-2002. Henderson is southwest of Las Vegas and engulfed in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
In fact, no one lived at 1131 Tioga Drive on December 25, 2002, because that residence didn’t exist – it had been razed by the city of Modesto.
Northern California was drenched by a series of rainstorms Dec. 29, 1996, through Jan. 4, 1997. A "pineapple express" brought a series of storms from the central Pacific that caused heavy, prolonged, and unusually warm precipitation across the northern half of the state. . . . Precipitation up to 24 inches was recorded for the week. Significant flooding occurred and disaster areas were declared in 43 counties. . . . The foothills of the Sierra Nevada and areas downstream of the foothills were particularly hard hit, especially in the communities of Wilton, Olivehurst, and Modesto.
4 HOUSES BLOCK FLOOD ZONE PLAN; CITY WEIGHS ACTION TO GET THEM
By JIM MILLER, BEE STAFF WRITER
Published on July 27, 1999 by Modesto Bee, The (CA).
This item appeared in the B section on page 1.
Coming before the Modesto City Council today is the final piece of a strategy to prevent a repeat of the devastating 1997 floods in the Airport Neighborhood.
For more than a year, the city has tried to acquire 14 houses along the Tuolumne River, most of them damaged or destroyed by floodwaters. Modesto wants to bulldoze the homes and turn the area into 2 1/2 acres of parkland, so the river would cause far less damage the next time it overflows.
MIDDAY FIRE GUTS FLOOD-RUINED HOME OWNED BY THE CITY
By BEE STAFF REPORTS
Published on October 22, 2000 by Modesto Bee, The (CA).
This item appeared in the B section on page B3.
A two-alarm fire gutted an abandoned house in Modesto's Airport Neighborhood at about 1 p.m. Saturday.
The home, along the Tuolumne River at Hillside and Tioga drives, was one of about a half-dozen that the city purchased after January 1997 floodwaters damaged the properties.
A large pile of garbage in the back yard and about one-fourth of the home was in flames when the first firetruck crew arrived.
Published on December 16, 2000 by Modesto Bee, The (CA).
This item appeared in the B section on page B3.
14 HOUSES TO GO
Modesto City Council members expect to pay $106,000 to demolish 14 Airport Neighborhood homes flooded in January 1997.
The city used federal money to buy all 14 and moved the residents, with the idea of preventing a recurring disaster. The homes are south of Hillside Drive between Tioga and Empire avenues, closest to the Tuolumne River.
The parcel map for Stanislaus County shows the homes along Tioga and Hillside that were purchased. I have added labels to identify Tioga Drive and Empire Ave. Click to enlarge.
When you click on 1131 Tioga Drive, you get the following information [click to enlarge]:
When you click the other parcels along Hillside Dr, you get the same information, that they are owned by the city of Modesto.
This current aerial from Google Maps shows that there are no residences on the south side of Hillside from Tioga west to Empire. Click to enlarge.
Neither did Todd visit his children at any of Garcia’s relatives on Tioga, because none lived on Tioga on December 25, 2002. Public records show that her three brothers, Xavier, Marcus, and Arthur, were living at 737 Cadillac Dr. in Modesto; her father Ricardo was living at 708 Thrasher, Modesto; and her mother Mary Oakley was living at 2314 5th St in Ceres.
This map shows the location of the other two Modesto addresses in relation to 1131 Tioga Drive. Ceres is south of Modesto. Click to enlarge.
Why didn't Hicks know that Todd could not have been on Tioga visiting his children on Christmas Day? Simple. Because he didn't bother to check out any of Todd's explanations for his whereabouts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He seemed only concerned about recovering the jewelry Todd said he had sold or given away, and closing the case as soon as possible so this nasty little distraction could be put to rest and the world could again focus exclusively on Scott Peterson as the only explanation for what happened to Laci.
Officer Hicks, you could have been the hero that solved Laci Peterson's disappearance, and probably saved her life and Conner's. Can you please explain why you didn't find it necessary to verify Todd's account for where he was on December 24 and 25 when the anonymous tipster specifically reported that he/she was concerned about Laci Peterson and the first words out of Todd's mouth were a reference to Laci? It's inexplicable to me how you could so easily shove Laci aside in your investigation into this robbery.