Father kills children with carbon monoxide poisoning to get back at wife

February 17, 2002
Los Angeles, California
Adair Javier Garcia lights a charcoal grill in his home with the intent to kill his 6 children and himself

Garcia’s wife, Adriana Ibeth Arreola, had recently left Garcia. According to prosecutors, Garcia became distraught enough to consider suicide but also sought revenge against his wife. While his children slept, Garcia closed all doors and windows in the home then lit a charcoal grill in his living room. The fire consumed most of the oxygen in the home and his children were exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide.

The children’s grandmother discovered smoke coming from the home when she came by to babysit and immediately called emergency services. Dead at the scene were Brenda (10), Jonathan (6), and Anthony (2). The remaining 3 children were taken to the hospital where Cecelia (4) and Vanessa (6) died. The sixth child, who was 9 at the time, survived as did Garcia himself.

Initially it was suspected the grill had been lit to warm the home, but this theory was dismissed when working space heaters. Additionally, a tape Garcia recorded for his wife before the murders served as a suicide note and confession. In it, he claimed killing the children and himself was his only option and called the murders the “most cowardly, selfish act possible.” He also had the children say their goodbyes to their mother in a separately recorded segment.

Garcia was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in 2005.

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