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Family of Rita Gutierrez-Garcia Continue Search, Hope for More Resources

August 1, 2018

Alan Duffy, his bloodhound RC, and Omar Holguin search for the body of Rita Gutierrez-Garcia along an embankment near the intersection of Weld County roads 7 and 26 on July 15. Holguin is Gutierrez-Garcia's half-brother.

Family and friends of Rita Gutierrez-Garcia, the Longmont woman who has been missing for more than four months, are planning a rally on Friday to raise more support for searches.

Omar Holguin, Gutierrez-Garcia’s half-brother, said they are trying to raise more awareness about his sister’s disappearance.

Gutierrez-Garcia was last seen in a city parking lot behind 3′s Bar in downtown Longmont in the early hours of March 18, after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with family and friends.

Longmont police announced in May that they believe Gutierrez-Garcia is dead. In July, they named Juan Jose Figueroa Jr. as a suspect in her disappearance .

Figueroa is in custody on charges in a separate sexual assault case.

On Friday, Holguin and others will meet at the St. Vrain Memorial Building, 700 Longs Peak Ave., at 6 p.m. From there, they will walk to the parking lot behind 3′s Bar, where Gutierrez-Garcia was last seen, handing out and posting flyers along the way.

Over the last few weeks, Holguin said he has received an outpouring of support and he would like to be able to thank people in person.

But, as Longmont police Deputy Chief Jeff Satur previously said, there is a lot of area to search and a number of places where evidence could be.

“We have lots of volunteers searching, but we need more help from the public,” Holguin said in an email. “If possible, more resources to help search for Rita from our city, county (and) state officials . . . I would like more city (and) state officials to help search for Rita.”

There are also a number of organizations in Colorado that help search for missing people, such as Front Range Rescue Dogs, but Holguin said many have to be requested by law enforcement. Organizations based outside of Boulder County also would need the county’s permission to assist in the search.

Holguin has been organizing searches for Gutierrez-Garcia’s body nearly every weekend , often with the help of volunteer Alan Duffy and his cadaver dogs. The next is set for 8 a.m. Sunday , when volunteers will search Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City — one of the areas Longmont police named as a possible y location based on “information.”

Sunday will be deemed “Bring Rita Home Day,” which volunteers hope to make an annual event in her memory.

“We encourage everyone to spend 30 minutes of their time to help search for Rita,” Holguin said. “Share a flyer, post (or) tape a flyer somewhere. Anything helps.”

Holguin and others also are running a website called “Bring Rita Home” to help spread awareness about the case and provide updates on the searches. It also provides a link to the GoFundMe account started to raise money for Gutierrez-Garcia’s three sons. The family is also selling T-shirts through the GoFundMe page.

Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, mstamour@prairiemountainmedia.com

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