Team Coverage: Missing Student Found Dead, Family Speaks
(KATV) It's a tragic ending to a story we've been following for days. A UALR student reported missing Wednesday, October 12 is dead. The mother of 20-year-old Patricia Guardado reported her missing when she didn't show up for class, in the morning, to work that afternoon or to babysit relatives that night. Ever since then authorities, family, and friends have been combing the area for her.
Sunday, a fisherman discovered a body in a rock quarry in Pulaski County. Monday, police confirmed it is Patricia.
As you can imagine Patricia's unsolved murder has many in this community on edge. She vanished in broad daylight and police say they just don't know if her killer is someone she knew or a stranger.
She parked in a parking lot students park in across the street from UALR. Police says she often parked in the lot. Investigators processed the car she was driving but won't say if anything suspicious was found inside.
The International Business student was suppose to be in class at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday but never made it there. She was last seen leaving her family's Little Rock home after 8:00 am that morning.
Police are urging anyone who may have been in this area around UALR and the Burger King that morning and saw Patricia to contact them.
Authorities tell Channel Seven her ex-boyfriend has been questioned but they will not say if he is a person of interest.
While Little Rock Police are leading the investigation, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department is assisting and sent dive teams back out to the pond near Sweet Home where Patricia's body was found to look for evidence.
So far no arrests have been made. Police are not releasing details of how she was killed or how long she has been in the pond.
LRPD Chief Stuart Thomas, "I would say the same thing to UALR students that I would say to anybody who is anywhere is be aware of your surroundings, look over your shoulder and make sure you are aware and comfortable in your movements and if you see anything that makes you uncomfortable, makes you suspicious then contact 911 and we'll respond."
A reward is being offered for any information leading to an arrest and police have set up confidential tip line. If you have information that could help authorities call 501-580-8706.
THE FAMILY SPOKE WITH KATV:
As of Monday, it was 5-very long days, but the family's worst fears became true Sunday when the Garcia Guardados got the call they've been dreading. Their daughter was found dead and it was confirmed she was killed.
Maria Garcia, Patricia's mom, cried and scream Monday asking who would kill her daughter and why. "I feel lost, how can I continue living," she says.
Words cannot describe the pain Garcia is feeling since finding out her daughter was taken from a parking lot, murdered and dumped in a pond. Garcia looks directly into the camera and talks to the killer(s), "why did you do this?"
Everyday friends, family and supporters who have been handing out missing person flyers gather in North Little Rock to pray for her safe return now they're mourning the loss of 20-year old Patricia Guardado and asking why.
Garcia cries, "What wrong did my daughter do that you would take her life."
She sits outside leaning on friends and family for supports, hoping someone out there who knows something will see her pain and anguish and come forward.
Garcia says, "How can somebody do something this horrible?"
Police are not releasing details of Patricia's death. Her father Martin Guardado says they still plan to give out the $5,000 reward just now it's to find his daughters killer.
He says, "I had a feeling something bad happened but not this kind of bad."
The outpouring of support has been incredible, friends, family, classmates, church group and complete strangers in support passed out flyers and walked through neighborhoods and the school campus looking for any clues. The family says the reason they all came out is because she truly was a great person who didn't have enemies.
Martin says, "My daughter was so nice, she was part of my heart."
Police are beefing up patrols in the area.
Family tells Channel Seven that Patricia's four young siblings haven't stopped crying since she disappeared, making everyone more emotional.
A $5,000 reward was raised, meant to find Patricia. Her father, Martin Guardado says now it will go to find the person or people who took his daughters life.
He looks at his wife and kids crying, "I need to be strong and I'm going to try to make it. I want to say if anybody knows something to call police."
REWARD DETAILS: A $1000 reward is being offered by Little Rock Police Crime Stoppers. Another $1,000 is being offered by the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office and the reward money by the family has grown to $5,000. People can donate to the Metropolitan Bank in North Little Rock off McCain where Patricia worked. A tip line has been set up by police. Call: (501) 580-8706. Relative Reggie Koch with the Koch Law Firm is offering an additional $1,000 on top of that already offered.
VIGILS SCHEDULED: Monday, October 17th there is a vigil at 8 p.m. at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Little Rock at the corner of Sherman and 9th. Tuesday, October 18th a vigil will take place in the middle of campus at 7 p.m.
Statement by UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson:
"Our worst fears have come true. I am shocked and saddened by this news. The hearts of all of us at the university go out to Patricia's family and friends. The investigation continues in the hands of the Little Rock Police Department. University officials are cooperating in the investigation. At this point we do not have information about memorial services. The university is making counselors available for students and employees who are struggling with this tragic event."
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The sister-in-law of missing UALR student Patricia Guardado tells KATV that the body found Sunday afternoon in Pulaski County is Guardado's.
She was last seen leaving her home Wednesday morning headed to class.
Little Rock Police have not confirmed it was Guardado's body that was found, but they have scheduled a one o'clock press conference.
We have several crews working on this story and will bring you the latest as it becomes available.
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