Woman writes book about Rock County cold cases

Garcia hopes to keep efforts to find killers alive
Woman writes book about Rock County cold cases

Many of Rock County’s unsolved killings are decades old and the original investigators have since retired. But some are making sure the memory of murder victims is far from forgotten.

Twenty-four years ago, investigators made a grisly discovery inside a Rock County home. They found the body of 23-year-old Virginia Hendrickson. The Hendrickson case is a sad trip down memory lane for Doug Witt, who’s a former investigator for the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.

“I believe there were in excess of 70 stab wounds on the body and it was just really sad,” said Witt. “To think of her young child up there in the room left for the rest of her life without a mother.

“If it was a member of your family or my family, it would haunt you the rest of your life,” he said.

But county resident Terri Garcia has decided to try and do something about unsolved deaths, like Hendrickson’s.

“I woke up and said ‘I want to do a book about Rock County’s unsolved murders because I don’t like what happened to David,'” said Garcia.

Garcia said it took two decades for her friend’s killer to be prosecuted. David’s death gave life to her first book, “Rock County’s Unsolved Murders.”

“That’s basically my inspiration because the longer these cases go unsolved the chances are that thing could happen to them, too,” she said,

It took her three years to write and tell the stories of 26 area victims.

“Some of the stories are actually longer because I have actual information about the victim, which is good,” said Garcia. “That’s what I had hoped. The more information I had about the victim it made it more personal, so when you picked up my book you knew more about their life.”

Woman writes book about Rock County cold cases

Capt. Todd Christiansen, of the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, said evidence from the cold cases is sent to the crime lab, but so far, new technology hasn’t meant new leads.

“You want to have closure for the family, yet we know someone’s out there that did it or knows who did it, yet we can’t find that person and arrest them,” said Christensen.

Investigators said that they believe the only way the Hendrickson case and the others will be solved is if someone comes forward.

The majority of the proceeds from the book go to Janesville Area Crime Stoppers to help them provide rewards when a tip leads to an arrest.