A rollover truck on Pamo Road in Ramona

There's been an accident. Jadean didn't make it.

March 6 started out pretty much like any other day. Work was busy. I got off a little late, went home, got in the shower, and when I got out, my son Marshal told me that Jadean, my 15-year-old daughter, had been home. She’d dropped off her schoolbooks and left again. I asked Marshal if she had taken my work phone with her. I gave her the phone every day after work so that I could keep in contact with her. He didn’t know, so I tried calling the phone, and it rang in the house. She hadn’t taken it with her.

I had been taking six-mile walks after work most days, and I was going out for a walk. I got ready, and as I was leaving there was a news flash on Channel 7/39 about a rollover truck accident on Pamo Road in Ramona. I could hear the sirens from the fire department a few blocks away, so I stopped at the door and looked back at the TV, at the helicopter’s view of the crash. As I stood there I had this thought, just a little thought: I wonder where Jadean is? Then I went out the door and went on my walk.

I cut the walk short and stopped to visit with Cindy and Donny. We had a few beers, and Cindy and I were laughing when the phone rang. It was my boyfriend Dave, wanting to know if I was there. Cindy said, “Yeah,” and hung up. A few minutes later Dave came screeching up the driveway. I was still laughing. I was pretty hammered, and I laughed all the way out to the truck. Then I saw Dave’s face, and I was suddenly very sober. He said, “There’s been an accident.” I looked at him and asked, “What do you mean?” Again he said, “There’s been an accident, Staci, and Jadean…” I yelled, “No, no, no. What do you mean? Where is she?” Dave said, “She didn’t make it.” I yelled at him, “You’re a liar, Dave,” and I ran back into Cindy’s, screaming. I think I was screaming. My mind was screaming. I grabbed the phone and tried to call my best friend and sister Sam. Over and over I dialed. I couldn’t seem to get my fingers to work right.

I dropped the phone and ran back outside. I got down the three porch stairs and just fell on my knees, crying. Dave came over, picked me up, put me in the truck, and drove me home. He told me a lady had showed up at the house and asked for me. When he told her that I wasn’t there, she asked if he was Jadean’s dad. He said that he was her stepdad, and she asked him to please step outside, away from Marshal. The lady was from the medical examiner’s office. She told Dave that there had been an accident. At 3:45 p.m. Jadean had been pronounced dead. She told him that if we had any questions to feel free to call her, and she left her card.

When I got home, Marshal was crying. The card was sitting on my bed. I picked it up and stared at it for what seemed like forever. I took a deep breath and called the number. I said, “My name’s Staci Thrasher.” The medical examiner said, “Oh! Ms. Thrasher, I’m so sorry.” I asked, “Are you sure it’s Jadean? How are you sure it’s Jadean?” She said, “The people who were in the accident with her identified the body.” I said, “Who was she with?” The medical examiner said that the people she was with were Doug Garcia and Shelby Graham. “When can I see my baby?” I asked. She told me there had to be an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, and then they could release her body to me.

As I hung up I started screaming again at the top of my lungs, “No, no,” again and again. The neighbors, Margaret and Rails, came down. They asked if everything was okay. Dave told them, “No, nothing is okay. Jadean was killed in a car accident. Staci doesn’t want to see anybody right now or talk to anybody.” But Margaret came in anyway and gave me a hug and told me how sorry she was.

I started calling people. I called my mom, but she wasn’t home. Then I called my other two boys, Roah and Dalton. Roah was at school down at Grossmont College. I didn’t think he’d answer, but I figured that if he saw I’d called 100 times, it would make him call me back quicker. Dalton lived with his dad up in Washington State. I called all the numbers I had for them, but nobody was answering. I left a bunch of messages everywhere. I tried calling Sam again, but she was out with Vic, Dave’s cousin, eating dinner. I tried calling Vic’s phone, and once again, I left a message. Sam called right back, and all I remember saying is “Sam” and “Jadean,” and she knew. She started screaming, and then Vic was telling me, “We’ll be there. We’ll be right there.”

My mom called right after Sam and Vic. I told her what had happened, and she said, crying, that they’d be right over.

We started finding out some of the details of what happened out on Pamo from the kids around town, and I knew then that that was the accident I’d seen on TV before I went on my walk. I still didn’t know who this Doug guy was. I knew Shelby. She was Jadean’s friend from school. I thought Doug might be a teenage boy I had met a couple of months earlier at the house, but I didn’t know for sure.

When Roah arrived with his friend Jae, we decided to go out to Pamo to see where it happened. Vic and Sam arrived just as we were leaving, so they joined us. By then it was pitch black, but it was unmistakable where the accident had occurred. Even out on the dark dirt road, the orange spray paint was visible. The twisted fencing and the mashed dirt embankments marked the spot. We all got out of the cars and walked over to see what we could with our flashlights. Marshal found a shirt that was his. He and Jadean used to fight over it all the time. It was just lying on the bushes. We could see papers and all kinds of debris everywhere, but we couldn’t see why it had happened.

People were calling from everywhere asking what happened and telling us how sorry they were. Food also started arriving, more food than we had space for. I got the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life, and I lay down and went to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I thought it was all a bad dream, and then I remembered that I don’t dream. More people were calling, but the only call I took that day was from the donor bank. Jadean and I had talked about being a donor when she got her California ID, and she told me then that if anything ever happened to her she wanted to donate anything that might help someone. We put the little pink sticker on her ID. We didn’t think it would ever be used.

We went back out to Pamo again. Dave wanted to plant a cross where he thought Jadean had died. Vic took a few pictures on his cell phone, and then I had to go. I just couldn’t be there anymore.

What Happened out on Pamo Road?

When I got home, my parents told me that Shelby, the other girl in the accident with Jadean and Doug, had called and was going to come over with her parents. We had learned a little bit more about Doug. He was not the boy I had met in my home a few months earlier. He was a grownup, a 26-year-old man, and I still couldn’t figure out what my 15-year-old daughter was doing with him out in Pamo. I was anxious to talk to Shelby to find out what had happened and why Shelby and Doug made it and Jadean didn’t.

Shelby and her parents arrived. She had a few nicks and scrapes. She told me they had gone out to Pamo to do some four-wheeling. She said, “We were just driving down the road, and when we got to where the dirt started, Jadean took off her seatbelt. I told her she should put it back on, but Jadean said, ‘I’ll be fine.’ ” A little farther down the road they went around a curve and the truck fishtailed. Shelby told Doug to slow down. He hit his brakes, and the car slid out and hit the embankment. It shot across the road into the other embankment, and the truck flipped end over end.

Shelby said, “It took a minute for me to get out of the truck. I was trapped in the back seat. Doug and I pulled Jadean out of the truck, and Jadean kept saying, ‘I can’t believe we wrecked the truck. My mom’s going to kill me. I love you guys — I can’t breathe.’ ” Shelby told her to save her breath, not to talk. Then Shelby tried to call her dad on her cell phone, but there was no service, so she had to walk out in the field. When she came back, Jadean wasn’t breathing. Shelby said she tried to give Jadean CPR, but it didn’t work. She finally reached her dad and said that she thought Jadean was dead and he needed to hurry and come.

I asked if they were out there getting high, and she said, “No, we don’t get high,” and I said, “Well, we found this letter in her schoolbooks last night. Jadean wrote that, in February, both of you went out to Pamo with Doug and Jon and did ecstasy.”

Shelby’s dad looked over at Shelby, but she didn’t say anything. I asked Shelby where Jadean’s journal was. She said she didn’t know. I asked her how they had met Doug. She said that she had met him through Jadean and that he would pick them up in his truck after school and give them rides home. Shelby’s dad said to Shelby, “I thought you said Doug was Jadean’s cousin.” Then to me, “I thought it was kind of odd at the hospital that they [Doug’s family] weren’t upset about Jadean.” Something was wrong, and I felt it. Shelby’s account of the accident left me with more questions than I had before she came.

I called the CHP. I wanted to talk to them. I wanted to know what happened. Nobody called me back. It had been about 18 hours since Jadean was killed, and nobody from any law-enforcement agency had contacted me, other than the medical examiner. The CHP called back later that day while I was gone and spoke to Roah. He told the officer, “My mom really wants to talk to you.” They said they would call back again, but they never did.

We went over to the mortuary. I needed to pick out a casket and make the arrangements for the funeral and the viewing. I remember walking in. I had never been in that place before. I had lived my entire life in Ramona and had never been in that place once. I felt sick, and I just wanted to get it over with. We were told that the coroner had to release Jadean’s body, and then they had to “get her ready.” All I wanted to know was when I could see my baby. I still had not seen her. We went into another room to look at caskets. I remember standing there looking at what my baby was going to spend all eternity in, thinking to myself: I have $12 to my name. How am I ever going to pay for this? The caskets ranged in price from $1500 to $5000. But I noticed in the corner that there was this casket-shaped cardboard box with fake wood-grain plastic covering it, almost like shelf paper. It was $100. That’s the one I picked. My mom freaked and hissed, “No, Staci,” in that way moms do. I started crying and told her, “That’s the only one I can afford.” She said, “Don’t worry about the cost. Pick out the casket, and we’ll take care of it.” I picked out a teal-blue casket, the same color as this sparkly eyeliner Jadean had loved, and then I got out of there.

Who Is This Doug Guy?

Information kept pouring in from all the kids around town about Doug. Some of it was very interesting, in a stomach-churning kind of way. I started writing bits of information down. One of the kids pulled up MySpace and showed me a picture of Doug.

The next morning Sam and I went back out to Pamo to take some pictures. We spent about an hour out there trying to figure out what had happened. When we got in the truck to leave, a car came down the road, then slowed down and stopped next to us. It was a friend of Roah’s. She said her people owned that property and that if we needed anything at all, to get a hold of her. She gave us her phone number, and we drove off.

We got about a mile up the road, to the bridge where the road turns from dirt to pavement. I saw my friend Mark’s truck, and I thought he must have been coming out to see what had happened. He got to the bridge just as we did; he had a passenger in the front who I realized was the guy from the picture on MySpace. I said to him, “What’s your name?” He didn’t say anything. Once again I said, “What’s your name?” In my peripheral vision I could see that Mark was putting two and two together. He was realizing that this guy in his car is the one that killed my daughter. Mark said, “You better tell her your fucking name right now, dude.” His passenger said, “My name’s Doug.”

I screamed, “What were you doing out here with my daughter, you murderer?” Doug said, “I wasn’t trying to murder her.” Then Sam said to Doug, “Besides murdering Jadean, did you ever do any drugs with her?” Doug said, “No, I don’t do drugs.” Sam then told him, “Well, we have a letter that we found in Jadean’s stuff saying otherwise, and you’re going to go to jail for a long time.” Doug said, “They were Jadean’s drugs.”

He never apologized or showed any remorse. He just tried to put the blame on Jadean. I was screaming at him. I don’t remember what I was screaming. I started my truck, and Mark moved his. It was all I could do not to get out of my truck and throw him off that bridge.

We got back into town and went over to pick out the plot at the Ramona Cemetery. The best area, according to the cemetery director, overlooked a chicken ranch. As we walked down there, I realized that I didn’t want to smell chickens every time I came to visit my daughter. I said, “How about down over there, under those trees?” He said that was a “less desirable” area. I said, “I think Jadean would be much happier with the undesirables. She was always friends with everybody.” I picked out a very nice spot under a tree.

Later that night a Detective Saussman from the Ramona sheriff’s office called me at home. She asked me if I had a son named Roah. I told her I did, and was there a problem with him? She told me Roah had been seen driving a black Ford Ranger (my car) in front of Doug Garcia’s house a few times and that the sheriff’s department was viewing it as stalking. I was angry! How dare this woman call me and make assumptions and accusations about anyone in my family, especially in defense of the man who killed Jadean? Roah wasn’t even in Ramona that night, and if she had asked, I would have told her that it wasn’t Roah. It was Dave. He wanted to know where Doug Garcia lived. I said to her, “Really! Stalking, huh? Are there two documented instances of harassment on file? Is there a restraining order in effect? Because, fortunately for me, I know enough of the law to know when some stupid cop is calling to use BS tactics to get her way.” Detective Saussman then told me, “I know what it’s like to lose a child. My daughter wrecked her car and died last year.” I was so angry at this point, I said, “Really, you know what it’s like to lose a child! Your child died from her own mistake. My child was seduced by a 26-year-old man, taken out to the middle of nowhere for Lord knows what, and killed. So you might know what it’s like to lose a child, but you will never have a clue as to what it’s like to have a child taken from you. When Doug Garcia has a restraining order against us, any of us, then maybe we’ll stop driving down his street.”

On March 9, family started arriving from out of state, Jadean’s dad and his wife, along with her brother Dalton, her other grandparents from Florida, my sisters and their children from Florida and Texas. At some point that day, I said to Sam, “Why hasn’t the sheriff come to talk to me?”

No Victim, No Crime

We decided to go down to the Ramona Sheriff’s Station. I wanted to know why they hadn’t come out to ask me what my 15-year-old daughter was doing with this 26-year-old man out in the middle of nowhere. So Sam and I went over to the Sheriff’s Station and asked if we could talk to Deputy Brown, not because I liked him but because I knew him. He wasn’t on duty, and the female deputy told us that we could talk to him the next day when he got back. I said, “No, I really need to talk to somebody now. My daughter was killed by this 26-year-old man out in Pamo four days ago, and I want to know why nobody’s come to talk to me about it.” She asked us to hold on while she went inside the substation to see what she could find out. We waited about 20 minutes, and then she came back and said, “Nobody’s come out to talk to you because it was determined by the CHP to be just a car accident.” I was astonished. I said, “What do you mean, just a car accident?” She said that the accident had been determined to be just that, an accident with no foul play involved. “No foul play?” I asked. “This was a 26-year-old man taking two teenage girls out to the middle of nowhere to get them high and Lord knows what else, and you say there’s no foul play? Get your sergeant now!”

We waited another 30 minutes or so for the sergeant to come out. He had salt or sugar all around his lips, and he seemed very irritated that he had been interrupted. He said, “Yes, that’s correct. We are not investigating anything. Because there is no victim, there is no crime.” I raised my voice and said, “You’re telling me that this grown man killed my daughter and he’s going to get away with all the things that he did to her?” The sergeant said, “Well, if that’s the way you want to look at it.”

I could feel myself becoming irate and sick to my stomach.

Later, some of the kids came over and told us that, three days after the accident, Doug’s mom and dad had bought him a brand-new Dodge Durango. We were still trying to find out if there was any liability insurance that would cover funeral expenses, but I couldn’t get the CHP to call me back and give me the name of the insurance carrier on Doug’s proof of insurance.

On March 10, Sam and I went down to the medical examiner’s office to pick up Jadean’s belongings. When the chaplain came into the room to see us, he handed me this little Ziploc bag that had two necklaces in it. As he slid it across the table, he said, “Here’s her property.” I looked down and asked, “What do you mean? Where’s her purse? Where’s her journal? Where are her clothes?” The chaplain explained, “We don’t usually give the clothes back, ma’am. Most of the time they’re bloody, and we don’t want to put the families through that.”

I asked him, “Did you guys do a vaginal exam?” He said, “We only do those when people die in suspicious circumstances.” I said, “How much more suspicious could the circumstances have been?” He said, “No, we did not do a vaginal exam.” He told us he was sorry for our loss and gave us some literature regarding San Diego County’s grief programs, and then we left.

As we were walking out, I realized that Jadean’s journal had to be in Doug’s truck still. I freaked out. I knew that there was so much information about Doug in that journal because Jadean was so candid in her writing. She knew I wasn’t going to go snoop through it. She always carried it with her, and the only place that it could be was in the truck.

I called the tow company in Ramona to see if they had the truck, and they told me that it had gone down to Spring Valley on an evidence hold. I called the tow company in Spring Valley and explained the situation. They said that the vehicle was on a hold in a locked evidence locker and nobody but the CHP could get to it. Then I started calling the CHP, but the Ramona office is a field office and you never get anybody live, you only get their message machine. So I left message after message about Jadean’s journal and Jadean’s purse, how I knew they were still in that truck, and that they were very important, I needed them.

Jadean’s Funeral

At three o’clock we needed to be at the mortuary for the viewing for the family. I had not seen Jadean yet, and my stomach was tied up in knots. Dave, Sam, Dalton, Marshal, and I arrived first. I walked up to the casket and looked down at my baby, my sweet, sweet baby. My heart sank because, up until this very moment, I had held out hope that everyone was wrong, that Jadean wasn’t dead, that it was all some cruel joke, and Jadean would come walking through the door any minute being her usual bratty self. I thought I was going to be physically sick. That wasn’t my baby lying in there all swollen and cold. But it was. I started sobbing. She was such a beautiful girl. Life was so unfair. So, as I leaned down to kiss my girly-girl for the very last time, I told her that I loved her and that I missed her and that I would miss what and who she would have become every day for the rest of my life. I took that one lock of hair that I had been pushing out of her eyes since she was two and put it back in her eyes. I figured that’s where it belonged. I kissed her and walked away, and for the rest of the time I couldn’t go anywhere near that casket.

But Marshal walked up to the casket and couldn’t leave. He pulled a chair up next to Jadean so he could see her face, and he sat there for the entire four hours, crying. People came and put things inside the casket for Jadean, and he would move them aside so he could see her face. I finally had to have his grandpa go and pull him away.

The viewing was four hours long. People I had not seen in 15 years showed up: ex-bosses, old friends, people I had gone to school with, and kids. Kids! So many kids. It seemed as if every kid in Ramona was there at some point during that four hours. A woman named Donna came over to me with her daughter Bobbie. Bobbie told me that she was the ex-girlfriend of Doug Garcia. I asked her if she would be willing to talk to me later. She agreed and gave me her phone number.

The next day we all got up and got ready to go bury Jadean. When we got to the Mormon church, there were people standing outside. There wasn’t any more room inside. My family had been going to this church since they built it, when I was 11, and there were more people there than I’d ever seen there before. We went in and had a family prayer, and we went into the chapel for the service. I asked Sam to cut a lock of Jadean’s hair. Sam tried, but she was crying so hard, she couldn’t do it. My sister Shauna had to come in and do it for her.

After the service we went to the cemetery for the burial. Both the sheriff and the CHP drove past numerous times during the burial, which really bothered me. After the burial we had a family dinner at the church. A few hours later we all met up at my parents’ house and took some family pictures. You know the kind: kids, grandkids, everyone together. To this day I can’t look at those photographs.

Three days after the funeral, Officer Matthews from the CHP showed up at my house. He had Jadean’s purse, but it was empty. Alarms started going off in my head. Not one ink pen was in it. That girl lived to write and draw, and there was not even one ink pen in her purse. I asked hopefully, “Did you find her journal?” He told me, “No, Staci, the journal wasn’t there, but he would have had plenty of time to hide anything out there if he had wanted to.” I processed what Officer Matthews had said, and then I asked him, “What happened?”

The Highway Patrol’s Version of What Happened

Officer Matthews said: “I got the call at approximately 15:45 and headed out towards Pamo. My partner was following in another patrol car behind me. We were going about 40 miles an hour when we got to where the road turns from pavement to dirt. I radioed back to my partner that the road was so washboarded that we needed to slow down. When we got out there, Mr. Garcia was sitting on the side of the road and the other girl was over by your daughter. I immediately got out and went over to check on your daughter. I determined at that time that she was dead.” He then said, “I started to assess the situation, and as a father I thought, what is this grown man doing out here with these young girls? Then, as a Highway Patrol officer, I thought, does that have anything to do with this accident? I went over and spoke with Mr. Garcia to find out what had happened. Mr. Garcia told me they had been driving out to go on the trails, and when he came around the corner, the back end of the truck fishtailed, causing him to lose control and hit the embankment, which shot him across the dirt road into the embankment on the other side, and the truck flipped end over end numerous times.” Officer Matthews then told me that he administered standard field sobriety tests to Mr. Garcia, which he passed.

I asked him, “Did you take blood?” Officer Matthews again said, “I administered standard field sobriety tests, which Mr. Garcia passed.” I asked, “What do you mean, ‘field sobriety tests’? Are you talking about the walk-a-straight-line, touch-your-fingers-to-your-nose-type test? Because I was hammered when Dave came to get me, and all he had to do was tell me there had been an accident and I was stone cold sober. Don’t you think maybe the adrenaline of flipping his truck four times and killing somebody sobered him up?” Officer Matthews said, “I followed the letter of the law.” He then told me, “They might have tested him at the hospital, Staci, but I did not order any blood test to be taken. I couldn’t. He passed the field sobriety tests.” I took Jadean’s purse, thanked him. And walked into the house, crying.

Why Is the Victim’s Family Having Trouble with the Sheriff?

I was having a very hard time writing Jadean’s obituary. Almost three weeks had gone by since she’d died, and all that came to mind when I tried to write was “How do you sum up someone you love so much in four paragraphs?” The day I finally finished it, Marshal went back to school. The school nurse, Gloria, whom I’d known since I was 12, called me at about 11:00 a.m. Marshal was having chest pains. I went and picked him up and took him to our doctor. He said Marshal had a sprained diaphragm from crying so much and that he needed to rest.

Almost as soon as we got home, the sheriff showed up at my house. When they got to my door, I asked the deputy, “Did you guys finally realize there actually was a victim?” He just looked at me. They were there to serve Dave, Roah, Dalton, and me with restraining orders. I read through the restraining order that accused us of everything from drug-dealing to terrorist threats. When I finally reached the end, I realized that the restraining order was filed because Dalton had stood across the street from Jadean’s old school and threatened to beat up a boy that had said Jadean kind of deserved to die.

The day after that, Roah came up to show off his new car. He told me that when he got up to Ramona he turned onto Main Street and headed toward my house. About one block from my street, he passed a Ramona sheriff’s deputy going the opposite way. The deputy recognized Roah and immediately flipped a U-turn. Roah said he knew the deputy was coming after him, so he pulled into the Orchard’s parking lot and parked. The deputy pulled in behind him, opened his patrol car door, pulled out his service revolver, and ordered Roah and his passenger to put their hands out the window. Roah and Jae complied. What else could they do? Roah asked why he was being pulled over at gunpoint. Another Ramona deputy and two CHP officers showed up. The deputy put his gun away. They pulled Roah and Jae out of the car and put them on the curb while all four of them went through Roah’s car for about a half hour, even though Roah provided them with his valid driver’s license, valid vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. After they were all finished violating my son’s rights, they gave him a fix-it ticket for a little blue license-plate light.

I filed my response to the restraining orders, and on March 29, the day before Jadean’s 16th birthday, we went to court. It was a very enlightening court visit. We found out that the boy Dalton had threatened did say that Jadean kind of deserved to die, and the reason he had said it was because his mom had told him that. The judge was pretty much appalled that we were there just three weeks after Jadean had died and that the boy had said what he did. He scolded the boy’s mother and said, “I’m not going to put this on this boy’s record, not when your son was in the wrong, but I am going to ask Dalton if he can just let this sleeping dog lie.” Although Dalton didn’t want to, he knew it would be for the best, and he shook the judge’s hand and agreed to let it go.

The next day would have been Jadean’s 16th birthday. The kids came over, and they all had cake and then went over to the cemetery to put Styrofoam cups in the fence spelling out “Happy Birthday.” I couldn’t even come out of the bathroom. I wanted to pretend that it wasn’t happening. I didn’t eat cake; I didn’t go to the cemetery. I couldn’t. I’d been there every day since we’d buried Jadean, and I just couldn’t make myself go on her birthday. In fact, I still can’t go. I haven’t been there even once since the day before she would have turned 16. Later that night, to celebrate her birthday, Sam, Dave, and I loaded up all Jadean’s friends and took them to The Rocky Horror Picture Show because that was what Jadean had wanted to do.

A Case Builds against Doug Garcia

On April 12, 2007, Assistant District Attorney Polly Shamoon contacted me and told me that they were building a case against Doug, but unfortunately, all the evidence indicated he wasn’t under the influence at the time of the accident. Nobody had taken any blood, so the most they could charge him with was involuntary manslaughter, without drugs or alcohol involved. The most he could get was four years, and he would probably get the low term, which is one year in county jail. I was amazed. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. I told her about all the young girls in town who had come forward and said that they had gone out to Pamo with Doug at different times and that they were willing to testify.

She said she would need their parents’ permission before she could speak to any of them. The next day Dave and I met with Polly and Andrea Castaneda, the assistant DA who would actually be trying the case. I had the names and phone numbers of four girls who had agreed to talk to them. They were willing to have their parents know what was going on.

[Editor’s note: In court documents surrounding this case, Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell, who eventually took over the case, wrote that he intended “to offer evidence that (Garcia) has had unlawful sexual intercourse with several minors, has engaged in lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor under the age of 18, and that he furnished several minors with ecstasy and other illegal drugs.… The people are prepared to call live witnesses and provide photographic evidence to substantiate the claim.”]

In April, Shelby called a local radio station, 92.1, during a help segment. She talked about the accident, but some of the details were different from what she’d told me.

On April 20, I spoke with my lawyer, Joe Rego, who told me that Doug had no insurance. The policy number he had given the CHP officer at the scene was false. Joe said he was going to dig a little deeper and see what was really going on.

On April 23, I received a phone call from Andrea Castaneda, who told me that Doug had been arrested on April 21 and that his parents had paid the $100,000 bail bond in cash.

On April 25, a friend of mine called me from Arizona and told me that Doug was out there with his new 16-year-old girlfriend. I got the phone number for the mom of the 16-year-old in Arizona. I called her and gave her a summary of what had happened with Doug and my daughter. Her response was that her daughter was going to do what she wanted to do and there was nothing she could do to stop her.

I called Andrea Castaneda to let her know that Doug had left the state and was in Arizona. She called the bond holder and was told that there were no restrictions on his bail. He could travel to and from wherever he wanted to travel.

On May 11, Doug was supposed to be arraigned. I was there. Doug was not. The arraignment was postponed until May 16.

May 16, I was there. Doug was not. I asked Andrea Castaneda why he wasn’t in court. She said he had hired his own lawyer. He was not using a public defender. Because the lawyer had just been retained, he needed time to prepare. So arraignment was moved to May 30. I was very angry that Doug was able to come and go as he pleased, and I told Andrea this. She promised me she would address it at the arraignment on the 30th.

May 21, Joe Rego’s office got a call regarding the subpoena for Doug’s insurance company. They had no record of the policy number given to the CHP officer at the scene. They did, however, have a claim opened on March 6 with a different policy number filed under the name Doug Allen Garcia. However, the finance company that held the contract on the truck had, upon the cancellation of Doug’s insurance policy for nonpayment, picked up the insurance for property only. So the truck was covered, but there was no liability coverage, which is required in California. And because the DMV computer showed that there was insurance on his truck, he could legally be on the road. So he walked away from the accident free and clear, his parents bought him a brand-new truck, and my parents had to loan me money to pay $17,000 in funeral costs.

On May 30, 2007, we had a readiness hearing. The DA requested that Doug be required to stay in San Diego County. Judge DeAnn Salcido denied that request.

Friday, July 13, I was informed that a new deputy DA, Carlos Campbell, would be trying the case. Carlos said that they were continuing the case until the end of August. I asked if anyone had contacted the girls who were willing to testify. He said that, because of the shooting at the K-Mart in Ramona, the sheriff’s department was really busy with that murder investigation.

We were supposed to have court August 28, and on the 27th I called Carlos Campbell. He told me he was not sure if Doug would do any time. The DA’s office was not sure they could meet their burden of proof. Shelby had come in and given them another statement, and each time she gave a statement, it was inconsistent with all the others. This meant she was not a credible witness.

Shelby had admitted to a few of Jadean’s friends that they were smoking pot on the way out there and that they were on their way out there to do ecstasy, but she would not give this information to the DA or the sheriff because her parents would find out and she would have to go to rehab.

We were supposed to have court again on October 16. I called on the 15th, and Carlos Campbell told me that Doug’s lawyer had an expert witness who would attest to the fact that the tie rod on the vehicle had broken, thus causing the accident, and that they needed another continuance. The new court date was set for November 14.

On November 13, I called Carlos to confirm that the court date was the 14th. Carlos said he was sorry, but the case had been continued to November 21, and Doug was going to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter with no gross negligence. The maximum sentence was 365 days, but if he got the full 365 days, they could not keep him on probation for a term of five years. If they asked for 11 months, he would do half time with five years’ probation. I said, “So he’ll do five and a half months?” But Carlos said, “No, Staci, we’re not asking for 11 months. We’re asking for 180 days and five years’ probation.” I said, “What do you mean, 180 days?” Carlos told me, “Judge DeAnn Salcido will be handling the case, and she has already given us her presumptive sentence. It’s 30 days.” I yelled, “Thirty days! That means he’ll do 11 days with the half time and sheriff’s 4-day kickback. You’re telling me my daughter’s life is worth 11 days?” He said, “We’re lucky to be getting that. The judge told me that in cases like this, she usually doesn’t give any time.”

I know this was not Carlos’s fault. He has tried harder than anybody else has tried in this case. But it didn’t stop me from yelling. All he could say was, “I’m so sorry, Staci. I’m so sorry.”

So, on November 21, my 40th birthday, we went to the El Cajon courthouse and listened to Doug Allen Garcia plead guilty in front of Judge DeAnn Salcido to involuntary manslaughter without gross negligence. His lawyer requested sentencing for after the holidays. She granted that. Then Judge Salcido said, “I understand that the victim’s family are in the courtroom.” We all kind of nodded, and she asked us to come up front. She then looked at all of us and said, “I can’t even imagine how hard this must be for all of you at this time of the year, with the holidays, but please don’t make it any worse by doing something that you will regret.”

I’m looking at this woman, thinking, how could it get any worse? My daughter’s dead, and the person who is supposed to vindicate her says her life is worth 11 days. Now she thinks I need a lecture? So I looked at her, and I rolled my eyes, and I asked her, with more contempt in my voice and my heart than I’d ever had in my life, “Are we through here?” She looked as if I had slapped her, as if I had offended her. She said, “Yes. Yes, we are.” As I turned on my heel, I said, “Good, because I don’t think I could stand one more second of this crap,” and I walked out of her courtroom.

We made it through the holidays, sort of. We all put on our happy faces and went through all the motions, but it just wasn’t the same. It couldn’t be. Jadean is missed so much!

On January 4, 2008, I spoke with Carlos Campbell. The first thing he said to me was “I am so sorry, Staci, for what the judge said to you guys in court. She was out of line. She had no right to say any of those things to you.” I thanked Carlos and told him he didn’t need to apologize for her. He told me, “Well, somebody needs to.” We talked for a few more minutes. He told me, “You need to gather up all the bills from the funeral and give me copies for the restitution hearing. Hopefully the court will hold him responsible financially.” I told him I doubted it.

I Had a Plan

Around January 12, I started feeling very anxious, as if the world were closing in around me. I felt that I could not live with myself if I let Doug get away with what he had done, without at least trying everything I could think of to get the court to recognize that this was not just an accident and that the proposed 30-day sentence was not enough.

I decided that posting fliers was the way to go. So I printed up about 500 fliers stating my opinion of Doug and what he had done. Then on Friday, January 25, Sam, my new guy Dale, and I went walking up and down the streets of Ramona posting fliers everywhere, asking, begging, pleading with my community for their help.

The next morning Sam had to go with her boss to Ramona. She had been telling her boss about the fliers and wanted to show her how many we had posted. So they drove down Main Street. Sam called me, freaking out. “Every last one of them is gone, Staci, every last one!” I was shocked; we must have posted 350 of those fliers.

Sentencing was getting increasingly close, and the only idea I’d had, in my opinion, had failed. I still had some of the fliers left, so Sam and I decided on Saturday to go out to the grocery stores and the Ramona K-Mart and hand them out to people in our community personally. The community responded well; every person we handed a flier to wanted to know more.

After we passed out those remaining fliers, I realized that they were not very informative. So on Sunday, January 27, I went to my mom’s and sat down and drafted up another flier, this time being much more specific about what I said and what I needed from the community. When I was finished I started calling Jadean’s friends. I had a plan.

I had lived in Ramona almost all my life, and one of the things that bothered me about that town was the fact that from 3:00 p.m. until about 6:30 p.m., Hwy 67, the main way into town, was always a parking lot. I figured that if we went out to the west end of town and held up signs and passed out the fliers to everyone who was stuck in traffic, people couldn’t ignore us.

Monday, January 28, we woke up to rain. I was so bummed, but Sam and I made the posters, fully intending to go hold signs and pass out fliers, rain or shine. The rain turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The fires in October had pretty much destroyed Hwy 78, one of the only other ways into Ramona, and it just so happened that on that day it rained enough to create mudslides on the 78, thus closing it down. Virtually everyone that lived in Ramona and had to commute would have to enter through Hwy 67.

We all met at my house at around 2:30 p.m., loaded up, and headed out. By the time we got to the west end of town, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining through the clouds. Everyone got out and grabbed a sign and got busy informing Ramonians about “the accident” and Judge Salcido’s proposed 30-day sentence. Nine out of ten cars wanted to know what we were talking about; they opened their windows and gladly accepted the fliers we were handing out.

I had obtained Judge Salcido’s courtroom phone number, and I put it on the fliers. I encouraged all who read the flier and were as outraged by the proposed 30-day sentence as we were to call that number and let the judge know just how outraged they were. I had also called, emailed, and faxed every news station, newspaper, and radio station in San Diego County with a copy of the flier and a tip about what was going on in Ramona. Channel 10 reporter Rhett Lawrence showed up. We started talking; he found a lot of it unbelievable. I told him he should join the club. I also told him to come to court if he didn’t believe me. He could talk to some of those underage girls; they would be there. It sparked enough of his interest for him to show up at court on Wednesday. It sparked a lot of interest in Ramona as well. Calls started pouring in, people asking us what they could do to help. We told all of them, “Call Judge Salcido and tell her what you think of her proposed sentence, or better yet, come to court.”

A Small Victory

So on Wednesday, January 30, we all once again loaded up and went down to the El Cajon courthouse. When we got there, we all had the signs we’d made and fliers, which the kids started passing out to people going into the courthouse. There was a group of about 50 of us, plus Rhett Lawrence with his news camera, and another photographer for the Ramona Sentinel. A sheriff’s deputy came out and told us that we had to move off of courthouse property. We could be in the parking lot, but not on the actual court complex. We moved, and the two reporters spoke with some of the young girls who’d said that Doug had had relations with them. About ten minutes before court, we all filed into the courthouse. When we got to Judge Salcido’s courtroom, the bailiff came out and gave us a five-minute speech about how we were going to act in her courtroom and then made all the kids take off the ribbons they’d made that said “Justice for Jadean” and the shirts they’d made saying “30 days is not enough.”

They finally let us into the courtroom, where Doug was already sitting at the defendant’s table. His parents and grandparents were in the audience. The reporters set up the cameras, and then Judge Salcido took the bench. I was sitting there tied up in knots. Judge Salcido started talking. She said that she had read over the probation report and was concerned about some of the things in it; therefore, she was not prepared to move forward and sentence Doug to the 30 days she had originally offered. She told Doug that her new offer was 180–240 days (six–eight months; with half time that would be three–four months of actual time spent in jail), or he could withdraw the guilty plea and proceed with a trial. I almost stopped breathing. If Doug chose to withdraw his plea and move forward with a trial, it would give the sheriff more time to investigate him and hopefully add additional charges, bumping him up from his lowly misdemeanor criminal status to felon.

Doug did choose to withdraw his plea. Judge Salcido added some restrictions on the conditions of his bail. She ordered Doug to be at all of the court proceedings (something misdemeanor offenders are normally exempt from), and she also ordered that Doug not be in the presence of anyone under the age of 18 without their parents being present. We all sat there trying not to yell, whoop, and holler. After court was over, Doug was handcuffed and escorted out of the courthouse.

Later that night, we all sat watching the TV while Rhett Lawrence told the whole county about how Doug had taken the two girls out to a remote area of Ramona and “accidentally” killed Jadean and about my family’s ensuing fight to see justice served. He showed Judge Salcido ordering Doug not to be in the presence of anyone under the age of 18. Oh, what a happy day! It was a victory! A very small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Now we all had to wait for the next court date on March 5, 2008, almost a year to the day since Doug had killed Jadean.

Sam and I figured we’d better start calling the sheriff’s department to get them to hurry up with their investigation of Doug. Thursday, January 31, I called the Ramona Sheriff’s Office and asked for Detective Wells. I was transferred to her voice mail. I called again Friday, February 1; once again I left a message asking her to call me back. Tuesday, February 5, Sam and I personally went into the Ramona substation and asked to speak with Detective Wells. The receptionist there told us that Detective Wells may or may not be on vacation, she was unsure. When we asked if she could find out, she told us no, but we could leave a message for the detective. We did and left. I called the detective and left messages for her on February 8, 13, 22, and 28, and then again on March 3. To this day she hasn’t called me back. Why does the Ramona Sheriff’s Department not want to investigate this man?

Doug Garcia Files Another Restraining Order against the Thrashers

On Tuesday, March 4, my lawyer’s office called. They had just received a courtesy copy of a restraining order that my son Roah, my ex Dave, and I were being served with from Doug. Doug alleged that Roah, Dave, and I had threatened him. That I had personally called him eight hours after the “accident” and told him, “How dare you kill my daughter, I’m going to get you!” Doug also alleged that Roah and some of his friends chased him as he was driving out to his friend’s house a few days after the “accident.” The best part was Doug accusing me of threatening him by passing out the fliers. In his complaint, Doug stated that because I had passed out those filers, every time he came to Ramona he couldn’t sleep, and he felt that he might not make it back to Arizona to his new wife when he left town. And every time he saw someone from my family he felt very uncomfortable. Imagine that!

My lawyer and I figured it was some ploy he was using for court the next day. We thought he would have me served at court and then have me removed from the courtroom because I would be in violation of the temporary 100-yard stay-away order.

On Wednesday, March 5, Sam and I went to the courthouse fully expecting the sheriff to serve me. Instead, the sheriff, who never gave me a second glance, escorted us into and out of the courtroom.

Court went off without a hitch, all the trial dates were set, and we were coming back on April 22. Judge Salcido also reminded Doug of her order to stay away from underage children unless their parents were present.

After court I spoke with Carlos Campbell. He had told me, in an earlier conversation we’d had, that Detective Wells had said that one girl who had given them a statement regarding her sexual encounters with Doug no longer wanted to testify. I talked with the girl by phone. She told me that a detective had come to talk to her and that she’d told the detective everything she and Doug had done. The detective said that she was retiring but that the DA’s office would be contacting her soon. I asked if anybody else from the sheriff’s department or the DA’s office had contacted her. She said no. The one detective was the only person she had ever talked to regarding Doug. Was she still willing to talk to the DA and to possibly testify against Doug? Absolutely, she said. I asked if her parents knew about any of this, because they would have to know if it ever made it as far as court. She said she’d told her parents right after the detective came over and talked to her. I told her someone would be contacting her soon, and we hung up. I recounted this entire conversation to Carlos as he sat there, amazed. All he could say was “You’re kidding me, right, Staci?” I asked him to find out what was really going on, why the sheriff was refusing to investigate this man and had even gone so far as lying to Carlos about it.

I then asked Carlos why he couldn’t talk to the girls and amend Doug’s charges, since the sheriff was not going to do it. He explained that that just isn’t the way it works, that his hands were pretty much tied. In order for the DA to pursue charges against anyone, the sheriff’s department has to investigate, gather evidence, and file charges. Then the DA can do something, but not until then.

The next day, Thursday, March 6, the first anniversary of Jadean’s death, I had to get up early and take Sam to work. When I got back, Dalton told me that a guy was at the house to serve me the restraining order but that he’d left and left his phone number. It made no sense to me that a process server was coming to my house to serve me. Doug had asked for free service from the sheriff’s office, and it had been granted. So why would he pay a process server to come? Then it dawned on me! He’d paid a process server so that he could have me served on the anniversary of her death. Nice. I called the process server and asked if he could come back, and he told me he’d be there in about 15 minutes. When he got to my door, he shook my hand and told me how sorry he was for my loss and handed me the restraining order. As I was looking through it, I asked if they had specifically asked him to serve me today. He told me yes, they had indeed asked him to serve me on Thursday the 6th.

I responded to Doug’s allegations and sat and waited for court on March 13. That day I met my lawyer at the courthouse. Doug wasn’t there. His lawyers were. Funny thing how he can afford to pay a lawyer but filed a fee waiver with the court so that he wouldn’t have to pay the 180-some dollars to file the restraining order. His lawyers started by saying that because I had passed out fliers stating that Doug had murdered (in my opinion) Jadean, I had willingly and knowingly made defamatory statements, thus causing him great mental and emotional distress. My lawyer stood up and said that I was well within my rights under the First Amendment, that I had passed out my fliers to enlist support and help from my community, not to distress Doug. His lawyers argued that I knew Doug wasn’t a murderer and that this was proved by statements I’d made on my fliers. My lawyer argued that what was on those fliers was my opinion, that Doug was indeed a murderer in my eyes, and once again, that I was well within my First Amendment rights in passing out the fliers. The judge seemed to agree, because he denied Doug’s request for the restraining order.

I decided to write this story because I’m angry. Angry that my baby’s gone, angry that my family is irreparably broken, angry at the way things were handled from the very beginning, angry that nobody ordered any blood tests for Doug Garcia, angry that the sheriff’s department said and still says, “No victim, no crime,” and I’m angry that Doug Garcia is free to go about his business while my daughter lies dead in her grave.

[Editor’s note: Court documents indicate that on April 22, 2008, Doug Garcia was convicted of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and sentenced by Judge Louis A. Hanoian to 90 days’ work furlough and three years’ probation. He was fined $614, ordered not to associate with anyone under 18 “unless a parent is present,” and ordered to pay restitution of $17,000 “to the victim’s family.” Staci Thrasher has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Doug Garcia. He has filed a defamation-of-character suit against her. Both cases are pending.]

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Comments

Im a 40 year old father of 2 boys 13 and 14.As i normally do picked up the reader today. as i picked it up the cover caught my attention. As like most that will read i too became so uppset As my 2 boys were getting ready for school they would ask why i was crying. And i had told them about your loss my boys were at a loss for words such as i as i writting this letter im in tears for your loss. And hope in time you find you find comfort Knowing she is a better place.As for Mr Garcia He will get his im shure of that.not in court. our court need a big over haul.And i hope getting the word out through the reader will help as im shure it will. staci wish i could hold you and take your pain away. should you need anything talk vent E-mail me at [email protected]

I just read this story and I'm appalled. I would like Staci and the entire Thrasher family to know that they are in the thoughts and prayers of so many of us. Doug Garcia's family should be ashamed of themselves. It's obvious that they taught their son nothing as he has shown no remorse and not an ounce of respectability. I would love to see a response from them.

While I feel great sympathy for you and your family, it's painfully apparent that there is much more to this story and that you loved your little girl unconditionally...

tx5150, really? Are you a friend of the Garcia's?

What a tragic story. I lost my beautiful daughter eight months ago unexpectedly to an accident so I certainly understand how Staci feels. And I too am appalled at the sorry excuse for a justice system you were put through. Doug Garcia sounds like a total parasite not unlike Seth Cravens. Just remember Staci, 'what goes round comes round'. I'd be interested to see where this piece of trash ends up down the road.

God Bless You.

Staci, I go to the same coffee shop every day and I pass the reader every Thursday and I don’t pick it up. Today all I had to do was read the headline and my heart sunk. Oh how I remember those words. My sister Raina Bybee and her best friend Tiffany Savage were both killed in Poway in 1999. We have so many of the same ties to our stories. -No blood taken at the scene -Witnesses say he had been drinking all day -Poway sheriff department would not investigate -28 year old man with no remorse and tried to blame the girls -2 counts of Vehicular manslaughter (misdemeanor) -9 months in jail but with work furlo -Raina's funeral was also at a Mormon church -We handed out flyers just as your family did I feel like I read this story for a reason. My mother and I are very passionate and still angry. We are very active in the community. Contact us if you wish to talk. My heart mourns with you. [email protected] or [email protected]

I'm disgusted by how the Sheriff's dept handled, or mishandled as it were, this case. It screams of the kind of kick back or under the table dealings that are so prevalent in law enforcement today. It is certainly interesting that the perpetrator's family paid his bail, in cash, the day he was arraigned. A 100k bail mind you. Not the kind of money normal people have tucked away, at least not to the point that it can be liquid so soon. I'm willing to bet my very small salary that this guys family has political ties somewhere.

I do wish the author luck in her wrongful death suit, especially in light of how the perpetrator has treated her so far. Instead of showing dignity or at least expressing some form of regret for what he did, he serves the writer a restraining order on the anniversary of her daughter's death. Very crass indeed.

I am so sorry that our so called justice system put Jadean's family through additional hell. It seems to me that Doug Garcia's family have some kind of inside connection with the police and that he should have been investigated from the beginning. A 26 year old man driving teenage girls where one is killed is very suspicious and the fact that he was not investigated for sexual minconduct is apalling. I am totally disgusted with the police, the court and most of all with Doug Garcia. I am not related to this family and never heard of them until I read this story and I too am angry. Doug Garcia needs to be held accountable. How can we trust our police if they allow scum like this to get away with...contributing to the death of a child. I guess if your family has enough money in our society you can get away with it.

To GeorgeSD: I just wanted to point out that it's the investigating agencies responsibility to investigate the crime and to use all means necessary to analyze the crime scene. This evidence is then submitted to the DA at which time the DA can decide if said evidence is enough for an indictment.

Again, let me emphasise the first point, it is the investigating agencies responsibility to investigate the crime. This seems like a case of the Sheriffs department trying to do the DA's job and making a field decision that a crime did not occur. I'm thinking that you are PD due to the vehemence you have shown in your post, so you may be well aware of the slippery slope the officer begins to traverse when he makes that decision in the field.

This was mishandled from the beginning and anyone who is not stubborn or obtuse can see that. When a death occurs on the highway a full investigation is made by CHP. Why did the Sheriffs department not show the same modicum of attention to detail in this case?

Babywilson, that is completely out of bounds and uncalled for. Shame on you.

Administrators, please remove comment #8.

I found this story to be a pathetic cry for pity. This woman clearly feels incredibly guilty for what happened to her daughter.

I wanted to sympathize with Staci, I really did but, it was difficult to sympathize with a woman who starts the story talking about getting hammered. Her overall tone seemed whiny to me. She is trying to justify her ignorance regarding her daughter by persecuting this man.

Of course this man deserves no symapthy either but kids do stupid stuff, they experiment with drugs, they hang out with the wrong people, they go drop e in the middle of nowhere and they don't always wear their seatbelts.

Although it saddens me that her daughter died at such an early age and that the death could have been prevented, you are responsible for yourself. Her daughter is as guilty as the driver of that car and as guilty as her mother.

Hmmmmm... let's see... if she'd been wearing her seatbelt, she probably would've survived, just as the others did.

To incessantly declare that Mr. Garcia 'murdered' Jadean is ridiculous. And to attack that poor Detective Saussman, saying that Sausmann's daughter had died as a 'result of her own mistake'?!? How else could one label the taking off of a seatbelt in a known hazardous area, as Jadean had done?

Though I sympathize greatly with Staci Thrasher, she is entirely out of line. Though the driver should not have been out with underage girls, there is no connection between his inappropriate behavior and the car accident. Her desperate attempt to identify foul play seems to be a product of her inability to realize that life is filled with tragedy. Sometimes, there is no one to blame but God.

What the young man is guilty of is negligence. Not being careful, taking a turn too fast, not making sure underage girls were buckled in, etc. But Staci is guilty of negligence too. She did not know where her daughter was, seems to have a bit of an alcohol problem, goes through men like a pack of cigarettes, and cannot keep her bank account above $12. It might sound harsh to say this, but I grew up with such a mother and like Jadean, often found myself with a dangerous level of autonomy as a teenager.

What bothered me most about Staci's story is how she treated Doug. Publicly calling him a murderer...sending her boyfriend/son posse out to harass him...and so forth. As a product of her misdirected grief, she is clearly ruining this man's life. I can picture Staci red-faced in outburst: "ruining HIS life...what about MY DAUGHTER...she is DEAD." And in response I say, that is a separate issue. It seems as if she wants Doug to have been drunk or high so she has someone to blame. My feeling is that her daughter was making bad choices for herself...and herein comes a mother's duty.

And I should add that it does not take more than a few minutes of scanning through this family's myspace pages to realize what kind of people we are talking about.

Unfortunately the reader was unable to print the entire story. My position is and always has been... if 26-year-old Doug Garcia had not been picking my 15-year-old daughter and her 16-tear-old friend up from school and taking them out to the middle of no where to get high for the 3 weeks prior to her death (Yep... being a single parent affords children WAY to much free time, I agree! Must be that everything went perfect in your life huh?), there would have been no accident for Jadean. As for me ruining HIS life. Doug Garcia is a sick and twisted individual, using young impressionable girls for his sick and twisted agenda. He is guilty of far more than negligence,(or maybe you think it is appropiate for 26 year-old men to hang out with under-age girls) in my eyes as well as the eyes of many others, he is a murderer. Maybe you'd feel different if it had been your 15 year-old daughter that had made a bad choice that cost her her life.

As for me... you can assume want you want about me, if getting drunk once every 2 - 3 months makes me a drunk in your eyes... so be it! And if 2 men in my life in the last 14 years means I go thru men like they were cigarettes.... so be it!

Have a good day... and hopefully nothing tragic ever happens to you and yours!

I always pick up the Reader and look through it.I have to say that this is my first time actually reading an article from it. comments # 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, are out of line. sounds like they may be family members of Doug Garcia! Shame on you. When you have teens you have to trust them and let them stretch their legs, hoping they do the right things, make the right choices. A 15 year old still needs guidence...A 26 year old knows better. Back off of Staci she is a greiving mother. Doug Garcia is not the victim... The victim was Jadean Thrasher.Doug had no business picking up 15 year olds from school. I feel that the lack of remorse from the Garcia family is unjust.

I just have to say I was so touch my your story. But justice will prevail one way or other. We might not always be able to witness it first hand but we all have to meet our maker someday and answer all of the questions. I am so proud of how you sought justice for your daughter. Maybe that is the final gift you were able to bring to her. I hope that someday you will find peace in knowing that you never and will never give up in honoring the memory that she deserves and will always deserve. You did your best MAMA that is all you can do and I am certain that she see's that from up above. All my love to you.

Sara

"My position is and always has been... if 26-year-old Doug Garcia had not been picking my 15-year-old daughter and her 16-tear-old friend up from school and taking them out to the middle of no where to get high for the 3 weeks prior to her death...there would have been no accident for Jadean."

No, there wouldn't have been. But there are a million other contingencies that could have prevented her death. What I contest is your calling Doug a murderer simply because a) he was driving when the car crashed and b) he may have engaged in statutory rape at a different time. These two are unrelated issues...and (a) is not the result of (b). It is not fair for you to call someone a murderer using this type of logic.

I think people who undergo tragedies such as these are entitled to grieve to the point of irrationality. But you have clearly gone too far.

I am glad that you at least acknowledge that she made a bad choice...by associating herself with the wrong crowd, by using drugs, by not wearing her seatbelt, etc. But there IS something to the argument that if a child is not capable of making adult choices, he/she should not be given to autonomy of an adult.

I know that it is not easy to get around this however...ALL teens experiment..do stupid, and often dangerous things and their parents simply cannot watch them 24/7. But most of them come out alive. It is a real tragedy that your daughter did not, but your blame is incredibly misplaced and I would not be surprised to see Doug win his libel suit.

As for the statutory rape charge(s)...THAT should be your focus. What the man is is not a murderer.

Shame on you Sarah!!!!!!!!!!

You have no place to tell Staci how and what she should do unless of course you can tell her story, after walking in her shoes. And I pray you never do. You owe her a huge amends because What you wrote will come back to haunt you at some point in your life. it always does!!!

I do not know Staci and I do not write because of any connection to her family but her story is one I have heard one to many times. After I lost my daughter in almost the same senario and had to then deal with the incompetence of the Poway Sherrif dept and all the lawmakers that went with it,

I realized that I also needed to step up and get something changed. Staci is completely within her right to call the accident 100% avoidable. Jadean was 15, he was 26, that is 11 yrs her senior. Doug basically took a 6000 lb weapon and killed Jadean, I call it murder and I think the law should call it murder. I am on a mission to change that law. My tragedy happened almost 9 yrs ago and Im still trying to get the legislation to pick it up. They will eventually.

So Those that wrote and pointed the fingers to Jadean or staci, I pray you never join her club, so until you do get out of hers

My prayers are with this family and my hand is there to help if I can Ladyg

Sarah_bellum lets go back to your comment #12. What kind of people are we talking about? I have no where near the time you have to look up this families my space. Who are you to judge? Once again shame on you. Doug Garcia needs to take responsibility. He is an adult...if he faced the family and showed some kind of remorse in the first place...I am sure emotions would not have taken over.

Staci, i am very sorry for your loss.. loosing your daughter at such young age in this way it seems justice have not been served at all.

Doug Garcia, the least you can do is apologized to Staci's family which you have not done. Think if this happening to you, I am sure your parents will act the same way like Jaedan's. If you were complained of being harrased, don't be such a baby, consider it 'ur gift' than being jailed.

My thoughts & prayer for Staci's family.

Re #12 and #17: Some potentially defamatory statements by Ms. Bellum were edited out of comment #12, which is why it may seem incomplete. -- the mgmt

I have been grabbing the Reader for years and not once have I read any of the stories up until today, which the story put tears in my eyes. Staci, I am truly sorry for your loss.

Yes, I agree kids do stupid things, but at 26 years old, Mr. Garcia is no longer a kid and is responsible for his actions.

As for the Sheriffs, this is the agency lazy Police Officers join. Remember this when it comes time to vote when they have something in stake on the ballot!!

I just finished reading this article and these comments. I feel so sorry for Staci and her family. I feel sorry that Staci needs help dealing with her loss and I agree with some of everyones comments. I have followed the legal system for decades and I believe it needs to be improved. But I don't believe Staci is going about this in the right way. She goes on and on about all the yelling at different agencies and people and how the Judge was wrong, and this and that. It really detracted from the story. Judges don't make the law, they follow a very specific set of rules and guidelines that were in place and created by legislation. If a Judge sways, and some do, then their decision usually gets challenged and you know the rest of the story... Usually the appeal overrules a Judges decision that falls outside the sentencing guidelines. Staci is spending her time making posters and t-shirts attacking the Judge, when she should be channeling this negative energy to try to change legislation in Sacramento or at the nations capital. And police and sheriff's have to follow the rules too. I frankly was getting tired of all the references Staci made about her upper handed remarks and rude and insulting comments she made to everyone in the system who disagreed with her. Almost like she was keeping a score card. Our police don't have to stand there and be yelled at, or insulted when they make an attempt to express their condolences, and they don't have to return phone calls if they know all they are going to get is more of the same. I am a retired school teacher. I have dealt with parents every single day of my 29 years of teaching. The vast majority of the interactions was highly positive. Yet from time to time there were parents who simply were out of touch with what was going on in their childs life, and with often tragic consequences. And there were those parents who expected the school system or police department to clean up their mess at home, or wave a magic wand and fix all the injustices.

I support our police and sheriff, but I don't always agree with them and I am the first to support weeding out the bad ones. But I see nothing in her article to suggest there was anything the sheriff department could have done differently, and I am not convinced it was all as Staci's account suggests it was. I don't blame the detective Wells for not returning her phone calls if all Staci was going to do is be rude and insulting and creaming for something that could not be produced for her. I have to imagine the authorities would have loved to figure out a way to lock this person up and throw away the key!

I hope Staci can come to grips with her tragic loss and channel her energy for real changes.

Dear GeorgeSD, Let's just agree to disagree on the point of where the investigation begins and ends. My main point, and the point I think you miss seeing, is that her battle with the justice system is over. It's sad how it turned out, but such is life.

The person who committed this "act", however, showed absolutely no remorse, and in fact, insulted the author by serving her with a restraining order on the anniversary of her daughter's death. This was a conscious decision made by the server to have that done as the author pointed out, so it wasn't an accident, or "twist of fate". Perhaps that was the intended message. Again, a message that person had no right sending in the first place when it was his direct actions which caused the author's daughter's death.

I gave my best wishes, however, for the wrongful death suit, where the burden of proof is much different. He will be hard pressed to prove how, if he had not made those incredibly stupid decisions, the author's daughter would have died anyway. He put that poor girl in that situation. The other girl had even told him to slow down. He was showing off, probably hoping to impress them so he could molest these girls later after he drugged them up with ecstasy, marijuana, and alcohol. Seems a bit different when you look at it that way doesn't it?

How does the mothers actions, i.e. having a few drinks after work, have anything to do with the fact that a grown man took those children to a dangerous place, without the parents consent, and put them in mortal danger. One of them did not survive. Those are the facts of the case.

You say you are a parent, so let me ask you this, as a parent, when you were 26 years old would you have two 15 year old girls in a truck on your way to get drunk/high and engage in sexual activity? Probably not, and the reason is because you realize that is wrong and you have no business with a 15 year old girl, unless you're 15. The fact that he would pick her up from school every day reveals even more about his intentions.

The girl probably didn't tell her mother because she was afraid of getting a lecture or getting in trouble. She probably felt she could handle it, and be "adult" about it. He took full advantage of her naivete and therin lies the crux of the wrongful death.

George, Enough already! Work on taking care of your wife! With as much as you been commenting in this site, I am sure she is lacking attention! we have all read what you have wrote...you can stop attacking now. It sounds like you may be the one having the cocktails!

After reading this article, the only ones I truly feel sorry for are Jadean Thrasher, her siblings, and Det. Saussman. Jadean died because of some bad choices. No one is perfect and all of us make wrong decisions at some point, but no one deserves to die because they wanted to have fun. In Jadean's case, the auto accident that killed her was the result of Doug’s irresponsible driving and Jadean removing her own seatbelt while the vehicle was in motion. What I don't understand is according to Shelby, the friend that was in the truck with them the day of Jadean's death, they were out for 4-wheeling. I am perplexed as to why anyone would remove their seatbelt while 4-wheeling? As for Det. Saussman, I completely and wholeheartedly sympathize w/the loss of her daughter in a car wreck. Regardless of whether or not it was an accident or "her mistake" as Staci Thrasher coldheartedly put it, her daughter did not deserve to die nor should the impact of her death be disregarded because there was no one else to blame as in the case with Jadean. I lost a nephew this past February in a car accident. He was driving to school in the rain when he lost control of his car and hit an oak tree. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system according to the medical examiner, and we have spoken with various people who saw the accident and pulled over to try and help him, all of whom confirmed he was not speeding or driving recklessly. Regardless, of the circumstances, he was taken from us, so I do feel Det. Saussman's (and Staci's) pain and loss. However, I say shame on Staci Thrasher for expecting others to feel her pain (as this does seem like a cry for pity) when she clearly insulted a detective who was merely doing her job and offering her condolences as a mother who also lost a child in a car accident, to the point of belittling the detective's loss as a parent. I read this article hoping to find common ground w/ Staci and her family, and possibly some healing for the pain and loss my family and I are still suffering. Instead, I found a mother who refuses to take any slack for the negligence which contributed to bad choices that put her daughter in a situation that led to her death. Simply giving a child a cell phone so you can call whenever you want while they’re out is not actively participating in their life. Furthermore, her response to sara_bellum that “being a single parent affords children WAY to much free time,” implying she did not have the luxury of spending regular time with her kids, is inconsequential in light of her “six-mile walks after work most days” and cutting her walk short on this day to have a few beers with friends. If spending time regularly w/your kids was a luxury you couldn’t afford, wouldn’t you spend time w/them if you cut your walk short? Anger and grief at the loss of a child is normal, but relentlessly pointing the blame at anyone and everyone you can (including law enforcement) is not healthy for all involved.

Although I agree with most of the story written by Ms. Thrasher, I did have a few issues with some of the missing and important pieces. I feel sorry for your loss, very much so. I have yet to know what such a loss could possibly feel like. The issue I have with the story is that very little was said about her daughter and what she knew of her reputation at school. Nobody deserves to die for wanting to have some fun, but to paint your daughter as an innocent, is not really telling us everything.

Having said that, I know exactly what it can be like when the local police be it the sheriff or whomever, can seem to protect the person totally in the wrong. Why didn't the police investigate any of this? Why was a 26 yr old man not responsible for a minor taking off her seat belt? When Joe Blow citizen gets pulled over, we are responsible and nobody has died in those situations. I also have a problem with the local Ramona law enforcement's desire to protect Doug Garcia. Why do cops always seem to only believe the first story and not the whole story? Is Doug Garcia's family a big deal in Ramona? Why did law enforcement look the other way on all of the stories of underage girls he had dated? Dude, not only do you have a possible manslaughter charge go unpunished, but the possible possession of controlled substances AND statutory rape charges. Sounds to me like typical Ramona "Towny" b.s.

Furthermore, the icing on the cake is when Mr. Garcia pays someone to serve the restraining order on the anniversary of Staci's daughter's death. What? Dude, Doug Garcia, do you know what Karma is? That's the most horrible thing I have ever heard of.

I completly agree with George. I am a mother and i use to pickup my daughter at school when she was 15 or make sure an other parent did it after my work. [Jadean] was not supervised at all and knew she could go where ever she wanted to after school....Sad, sad story with a tragic ending...i's like don't drive and drink,..don't be mother and drink...

Hi George, Now now, we don't have to resort to insults. I'm assuming your innuendo regarding "first year paper-chase" was a veiled attempt to discredit my choice of a phrase. Let me inform you sir, I am not a writer, nor have I taken a single journalism class, other than in High School. I am a software engineer by trade. I do happen to write a lot of documentation so please excuse my pedantry.

You are correct that my main point was in support of her civil action, which, as I pointed out, has a much different burden of proof (I have been a juror on two separate civil cases so I am well aware of what the burden of proof is). Her battle with the penal system is over. She lost and she will move on. The penal system is flawed, we all know that. If you don't, just pick up a paper and read any one of the many stories about individuals who were let out of jail, sometimes after years, after they found evidence that proves their innocence. I can guarantee you it wasn't the justice department who was championing these peoples rights.

I'm a firm believer though, that to hurt someone with money, hit them where it counts; In the pocket book. I'm sure the wrongful death suit is much more damaging to the "Garcias" than putting their baby in jail for a few months.

For a final request, I would like for you to point out where I made this "quantum" leap in logic. Which, for your information, is the wrong usage for that word. Quantum means a discrete quantity and does not give any indication of the size of the quantity. It can be small or huge. As for etymology of the word, it comes from the Latin word "quantus", which means "how much". The common form of the word is derived from the Standard Model theory which dictates that the universe is full of quantum, or discrete, states of energy. So, making a "quantum" leap wouldn't be any different than making a regular leap as long as the quanta are the same.

Have a nice day George.

To BigJ, My thoughts exactly. It's definitely a "good ole boy" syndrome that affected the investigation. For all the detractors and supporters of the Sheriff department, let me ask you this. Do you think the case would have been handled differently if it was the Garcias' daughter that was killed by the Thrashers' son? I think the answer is a resounding yes.

My family is all law enforcement. Both my grandfathers and an uncle are retired LAPD. I'm not unfamiliar with how things work. There is indeed a "blue wall" and if you are close friends or family of a police officer that "blue wall" is also extended to you. I've seen it happen, so I know for a fact that it goes on.

To Felix, Please point out my leap in logic.

The facts of the case are: Prior history of drug usage Prior history of same behavior leading up to drug usage Prior history of drug usage, reckless behavior with minors, and sex with minors (if the witness are telling the truth) Adult with minors in car WITHOUT parents permission Reckless driving leading up to the accident

I still submit that Mr Garcia has some culpability for his actions. Had he not picked up those girls, without parents permission, had not drove recklessly, and had not been somewhere with two 15 year old girls he shouldn't then Jadean would probably be here today. I also submit, that legally, and logically, a 15 year old girl is not in the proper frame of mind to make that kind of decision, nor does she have enough experience to know better. If Doug was a man, he would have called the mother and said, "I'm picking up your daughter from school". He didn't do that. Probably because he knew what he was doing was wrong. You, and the other detractors, can point out all you want about Staci getting "hammered", it still doesn't change the fact that Doug made a really stupid decision and a 15 year old girl died as a result. He should be held accountable for his actions. As you pointed out, I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

To Felix, Yes thin blue line, blue wall, definitely the same thing. I suppose I was being a bit harsh on the Sheriff's department. To be honest, I only know the authors side of the story. I was driven by my own emotion and my own dealings with that branch of law enforcement. I agree with you that there is no murder here. There was no motive and no malice in what Doug did. I'm sure he didn't go out there with the intention to kill that poor girl. He is guilty, however, of making a really bad decision that cost a girl her life. However, the serving of papers on the anniversary of her daughters death is probably the most despicable thing he could have done. Yes, you are right, that doesn't make him a criminal, it just makes him a crappy human being. The two are not necessarily mutually inclusive.

While I don't agree with all of Staci's points,I do agree that more drivers should be blood tested in accidents, especially if the accident happened during the day,seems to have no apparent cause, or somone is injured. I have been hit THREE times during the day--in the first two, I didn't even think to ask for a blood test until witnesses pointed out that the at-fault driver appeared to be drunk. (Who would think a high school principal would be driving drunk at 2pm on a Saturday?) Turned out all 3 were over the limit--during the day, and one with kids in the car. Why not make a blood test standard, especially if there are injuries?

Misses Thrasher:

I am very sorry for your loss, but I am even more sorry that some people are judging you and they have no right to do that. Sometimes people forget that we all have stuff in our lives, and nobody should diminish your tragedy because of it.

Athenais - by your comment, "Sometimes people forget that we all have stuff in our lives, and nobody should diminish your tragedy because of it," are you referring to the part of Staci Thrasher's article that reads, "Detective Saussman then told me, 'I know what it’s like to lose a child. My daughter wrecked her car and died last year.' I was so angry at this point, I said, 'Really, you know what it’s like to lose a child! Your child died from her own mistake. My child was seduced by a 26-year-old man, taken out to the middle of nowhere for Lord knows what, and killed. So you might know what it’s like to lose a child, but you will never have a clue as to what it’s like to have a child taken from you.'"? She said this to a detective who was only doing her job and who also happened to be another mother who lost a child in a car wreck trying to let her know she understood what Staci was going through. Did Staci Thrasher consider that when she thoughtlessly lashed out at this person? I realize Staci was angry and frustrated at the time, but nowhere in this article does she apologize for those remarks or even acknowledge that she was out of line. Instead, she continues to blame everyone else.

Everyone experiences tragedy at some point in life to some degree. What people who disagree with Ms. Thrasher are trying to say is that everything she is claiming in her article has no solid foundation other than the fact that Doug was a scumbag who should not have been in the company of high school girls unsupervised. Everything else from calling him a murderer, subjecting him to libel by handing out flyers about him, blaming law enforcement or even believing there was some conspiracy to cover the whole thing up is an attempt to detract attention from the root of the problem, which was Staci did not play an active (and possibly positive) enough role in Jadean's life to influence her and help her make decisions that would have kept her out of trouble. By not being more present in her life and aware of her usual activities and circle of friends, she was the one who put her own daughter at risk. Was she trying to be the “cool mom” by simply giving her a cell phone as a means of being present in her life while both of them go out to do whatever with friends? With that said, if it were one of Jadean's teenage friends, whom she might have also done drugs with, driving the truck when she died, who would Staci have to blame then? She couldn't accuse some 26-year-old loser for preying on teenagers nor could she blame law enforcement for trying to cover it up or not doing their jobs. It wouldn't change the fact that she was clueless to her daughter's actions. Jadean was out doing the same thing with this same guy for weeks prior to her death for heaven's sake. How could Staci not have known? Because she was always at work or out on one of her six-mile walks or getting hammered with friends that it didn't afford her time with her children?

I don't think that Staci is an alcoholic or anything, but she really doesn't come across as the classiest person in the world. She's got multiple children with different fathers and one kid who doesn't even live with her. Couple that with her blithely mentioning that she was getting 'hammered' at a friend's house and it's pretty clear that she's far from perfect.

I feel sorry for her because no one deserves to lose their kid, but obviously if she had kept a better eye on her then things could have turned out a lot differently. I wonder if she had any inkling of what was going on. Fifteen year olds should never get to just come and go as they please. And obviously Jadean wasn't the most mature fifteen year old. My mom wasn't especially doting on my sister and I but I am certain that she always knew where we were.

Yeah, I have to say that by the end of the article I was kind of annoyed with Staci's attitude. I was appalled by what she said to the police officer who lost her own daughter. I love how she assumed that her daughter was the cause of the accident in the first place. It could have been bad weather, an animal in the road, anything. Clearly Jadean's decision to not wear a seatbelt was the reason she died. The other two passengers were hardly injured.

Also, did anyone else notice her daughter's striking resemblance to a certain famous rock singer from England with a reality show about his annoying family?

Good Lord, I don't know which was more painful to read - this story, or the comments. I tried to view the JusticeforJadean MySpace page, but it's been taken down. There was a lovely memorial page and one belonging to her brother, neither of them revealing any more info - let alone insight - than what can be found on this Reader webpage.

I ache with sympathy for Jadean's Mom, even tho I'm concerned about her apparent determination to focus all the blame on one party, ignoring that at least some responsibility lies with young Jadean's own actions. Yes, Mr. Garcia clearly has a history that should have resulted in much more investigation, if not more aggressive prosecution, but the man cannot be decisively branded a "murderer," even after reading the decidedly (and intensely) one-sided arguments presented in the article by Jadean's mom.

So much pain here, and I doubt anything akin to a "resolution" will ever occur, for any of the parties involved (all of whom have my sympathy, tho some seem to deserve far more than others).

For more on the Judge, see www.SanDiegoJudges.com

i just finished reading this story in the reader. i just wanted to give my support to staci thrasher and her quest for justice. i was also very upset to see so many others who read this article write in to slam her. i am a mother of 2 girls and i cant imagine going through the indescribable hell this poor woman has endeared for over a year. i belieave in what staci is doing in sharing her story and fighting for justice. I WOULD HAVE DONE THE EXACT SAME THING! and to al you who are trying to put her down try putting yourself in her shoes befor you critasize.

lbreezy83, Good Lord, you're a mother of two children and your spelling is absolutely atrocious. I cringe to think of when you help your kids with their homework. You would have done the exact same thing as Staci? Does that include letting your kids run wild and then place all the blame on someone else when something bad happens due to you and your kid's own negligence? Well good for you. You're just another hysterical mother with no common sense. Enjoy your crusade.

What I want to know is why has Mr. Garcia not been arrested and charged with statutary rape? There is the testimony of several minors and no charges. Something really smells in Ramona. I experienced police corruption when my son was murdered 3 years ago in Seattle. Everything was caught on video, yet when they finally caught one of the guys I was told there was not enough evidence to charge him. I understand that money is tight but if you ever can get some together the first thing I would do is hire an investigator to find out the connection between the sheriffs department and Doug Garcia. And believe me, there is a connection there. I can't say that you will ever get over this, I still greive for my son, but I can promise you that it does get a little easier. My prayers are with you and your family.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Thrasher family.

While, yes, the girls made a mistake being with Garcia and Jadean made a mistake taking off her seatbelt, those are not things that should cost anyone their life.

The fact of the anyone's upbringing or family situation is irrelevant.

The ultimate responsibility in this situation lies with Garcia. At 26, he had no business taking anyone's CHILDREN anywhere. But for his actions, this situation would not have occurred.

Also, I agree with glorysway. Something not only smells in Ramona, it stinks; in fact, it totally reeks. There most definitely is a connection between the Garcia family and the sheriff's office. I would start with finding out Garcia's mother's maiden name and go from there... (I wonder if it might not be too different from that of maybe even the judge...)

When this case goes back to court, I hope there will be an exhuming so that more evidence against Garcia can be found and used against him so that he receives the justice he deserves!

RIP Jadean.

To those of you who had the gall to make those nasty comments, not only SHAME ON YOU, But you are DEEPLY misinformed about Staci. I understand that most of you may not know Staci personally, but I do. And she is an incredible woman. Your comments brought me to near tears, because I knew her daughter as well. After I read those uncalled for comments, I had to put my own “two-cents” in. It's difficult to find any words that would not become retaliation, so I came up with a different perspective for you, My Own. Jadean was my brother's best friend, and was over at our house the night before she died watching RENT and giggling like crazy. We bonded over the ridiculous Dress Code,as well as other things. She was an incredibly happy girl, who always brought light into every room she walked in. The moment I found out she had died, I couldn’t believe it. I hadn't known the complete story yet, I just heard it was an accident, and that she was gone. I watched Jadean and Shelby drive off that day with Doug, it was the last time I ever saw her breathing. I kept thinking, “What if I told them not to go?” The next morning I could barely get myself up to go to school, but I had to.The silence that immediately followed my entry into my first period's classroom, was overwhelming..Surrounded by Grief counselors and those who were friends with Jadean, Shelby came in to tell us the "real story" of what happened.Hit with disbelief, I didn't want to question it then, tears filled my eyes and the “truth” crushed me. When we were asked to return to class, I was then confronted by a person I already disliked with a comment that made my heart drop to the floor. "She deserved to die… She should have worn her [explicit] seat belt." and a few other things I would rather not include. Your comments, (Those I mentioned in the beginning of my letter) remind me of that particular comment that was said to my face. Completely heart wrenching. I cannot even imagine how Staci feels right now.Jadean’s viewing then came up, which was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I can't even imagine how it was for her family. My heart felt as though it stopped beating when I walked up to her casket. I couldn’t bear standing there for longer than a minute, so I placed what I wanted her to have inside, and ran out. The funeral was standing room only. To celebrate her birth, rather than mourn her death,March 30,we decorated her headstone with gifts,and strategically spelled out HAPPY BIRTHDAY JADEAN, WE LOVE YOU with plastic cups in the fence of the cemetery. Yes, Jadean and Shelby, SHOULD NOT have gotten into his car in the first place, but that blame DOES NOT lie on Staci. My mother is also a single parent, and I have made some pretty hasty decisions in my life as well, but you DO NOT blame those AMAZING women for their children's mistakes. HOW DARE YOU. As for Doug... Yeah... Well. Staci, my prayers are always with you. Rest In Peace Jadean. <33 We Love You.

Yes, this guy sounds like such sleaze!!! I can remember how many older guys would date me and my girlfriends when we were still in high school. Being that young, we totally thought we were so cool for hanging out with older guys who would buy us booze and drive us around. Just a few years later, I see things so differently.

If you want to help prevent these scumbags from taking advantage of girls, check out this website: www.friendsofsarah.com.
This is a initiative that will help stop these guys who are preying on younger girls (probably because they can't get a girl their own age!).
Look at this video, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn3iNn...

May Jaedean's family find peace through all this.

First off, I pray that those of you who posted negative comments never go through what the Thrasher Family has had to endure because their daughter made a choice and got into a car and unbuckled her seatbelt.

When the phone rings late at night or I see a police officer out of the corner of my eye I panic for just a second. I check in on my daughter (18) and son (15), and if they are where they are where they are supposed to be, I relax.
They were both friends with Jadean. My last memory of her is my mom coming to visit and coming into my room to ask me who it was that was sitting on the couch with Michael watching a movie. I told my mom “Its okay, that’s just Jadean” There was nothing “just” about Jadean though. Earlier that week Jadean and I commiserated over the rigid dress code at the school Jadean and my daughter attended; no purple or blue hair for them. I wish I could go back to the last day I saw her and tell her not to go out there, “leave your seat belt on girl”, I would tell her. March 6 2007 was devastatingly painful for my children, My son hit the wall with his fist, that was his only outward reaction, I have noticed that he became aware that he is not immortal, death happens, and he found out in the most difficult way. Losing her has impacted him in ways I never saw coming. Darker than the “teen angst” I went though with my daughter.
When it was learned that the adult driving the vehicle would receive three months in jail for his part in her death the kids reacted with shock and anger. A sentence at all shows me that there was guilt, three months though, is a slap on the hand, don’t do that again or next time someone dies we will really punish you. I believe that my family would react much the way Staci and her brood did. I would want the person responsible to be brought to justice, of course that was before I was robbed of my “idea” of a justice system.
As a single parent of teenagers it is a difficult road I walk; I am loved and hated in the same breath. I want them to be independent and yet I am hurt when they don’t ask me for help. They ask me for help and I try to point out the ways they can do it on their own.
I would love to spend more time with my son but he would rather play his guitar with his friends. I enjoy spending time with my daughter but she is getting ready to move away for college. My heart still grieves for Staci and her boys. I check in on my kids before I turn in, glad that they are both in there, safe for now. Tomorrow is another day.

wow... i dont know where to start. i have known staci since she was 16 years old, i have known her thru the birth of all 4 of her children.i have known her thru the good times and the bad times and for ANY of you out there to think you can pass judgement on her parenting skills is completely out of their mind. staci loves to no end when it comes to her children. children do what children do. not because they havent been taught the 'right' things in life. believe me they were brought up with the best of the best. a mother's love is a mother's love. did anyone question 'why' this 26 year old MAN is picking up and hanging out with 15 year old little girls? why he is smoking pot and giving them ecstacy? in any other state he would have been convicted of alot of diffferent crimes...but i guess not in california. why would doug allow a 15 year old to remove her seat belt while out 4-bying in a truck.what kind of driver is he? well we know that he is a reckless one... and how many other 15 yr. olds or younger has he taken out there too. maybe some of them were your daughters,they just dont want to come forward...maybe he has taken your grand children out there too..maybe jadean made a bad judgement getting in that truck, but she was only 15.you cant lay this on the mother or the brothers or any of the rest of the family. this lays on the 26 year old man that knew what he was doing...getting little girls to ride with him and get high with him so that he could what? take advantage of them? i find the law and the justice system in california very upsetting...now what are you people going to do when this happens to your child? the very exact same thing that staci did...fight. its real sad because i have done some checking into different sentences that california courts have handed down...how 'bout this one, fraud case, 5 years PRISON term and 5 years probation... no one was hurt at all..another fraud case, 9 months jail, 5 years probation.. how about the 'andrew luster case where a grown man was putting the ecstacy in womans drinks and then raping and filming it all...do u remember that one??? now california handed him down a sentence that he deserved, why is this different...a grown man giving ecstacy to underage girls...i think he needs to be put in prison for a long time to reflect back on the things he has done...we only know about this one, what about the ones he didn't get caught for??? it is a sad situation for the thrasher family, my heart goes out to all of them...the mother will never be able to see her aspiring daughter graduate,get married or even have grandchildren...the brothers have lost the only sister they had and loved, protected just to have some piece of low life come, pick her up and end her life. what is this family suppose to 'feel' like. how are they suppose to act?? there needs to be 'justice for jadean'...somewhere along the lines doug garcia needs to spend a few years in prison...dont judge the thrasher family for what doug did...

I guess I am a little behind the times because this issue of the Reader sat in my car unread until this morning.

I feel very badly for the Thrasher family and I think the way Ms. Thrasher was treated by law enforcement and the DA's office is a complete outrage.

I applaud the Reader for publishing this article as the cover story and allowing Ms. Thrasher the opportunity to get the stoty of her daughter's murder out to everyone in San Diego county.

Jadean's friend, Shelby, who was in the vehicle that Jadean died in should be ashamed of herself for not being forthcoming and honest about what occurred.

Oh my goodness! I just picked up an old reader my boyfriend had laying around the house and read the story of Jaden and her family. I am so apaulled on how this was handled. I am curious to know if anyone knows what the outcome was on the lawsuit that dumb man had the odassity to do. To Staci and her family, I hope you all are doing well and have had some kind of closure to this. As I read the ad, I cried as if I knew your family all my life. I am so sorry you had to indeer all that. May god be with you and your family!

My god, Staci... I dropped to my knees and SCREAMED when I found out... Blame me Please, blame me I'm so sorry I never had any idea she was around him... Not that I even forgive myself... Blame me for getting a ride from him in front of her. Blame me for not being responsible. Blame me for being stupid enough to hang out around him; for accepting drugs from him habitually like it was justifiable or excusable... Blame me for being her friend when she deserved better than some homeless addict/alcoholic waif like me... Blame me for not asking more questions like where she was when she told me she tried ecstasy. Blame me for being distracted. Blame me for not being there to stop it. Blame me for not being able to fix anything. Blame me for not being there in her place, because I blame myself.

Blame me for being a stupid and not being as good a friend to her as she was for me...

I love you both, You were always good to me. You were both my mothers when I had none. Even as a young woman, she had such a great head on her shoulders, I've never met anyone so wonderful, kind, understanding.... She had strong priorities, I'm sorry that one mistake ended up costing such a price... I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry to have been an aid in any way... I would give my life if I could turn it around... She was one of my only reasons for living... She kept me going when I didn't see a reason to live, and for that I hate myself. I hate that I have no desire to live and she loved life. I wished it was me every time I think about what happened and what I've done...

She remains in my head, forgiving and beautiful... Though I don't deserve forgiveness for my part, I hope you don't hate me as much as I have hated myself over the last few years...

Truly, A. Effing Fool

As for you other worthless idiots who have no idea what happened, Doug is infamous for his pedophilia, manipulation, and drug abusing habits. He has not only molested, but taken advantage of more than four girls that I knew personally.

Staci is amazing and took care of me, fed me, when no one else would. As a stranger, she still let me in her home to wash the filth off and eat as a part of the family. She's the strongest mother I've EVER met. not only that, but she's a mother to more people than are in my whole family tree.

Good luck and may the heavens help you if you don't know any better than to put an effing sock in it when you don't have anything positive to say on the massive grief and loss that she has been able to survive.

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