Desert Hot Springs Man Identified in Connection with Fatal Fentanyl Poisoning

DESERT HOT SPRINGS — About nine months after a 17-year-old female was found unresponsive in a bedroom due to a fentanyl overdose, a suspect has been identified, Sgt. Sean Liebrand of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.

Suspect Sought in Fatal Fentanyl Poisoning of Teen

Michael Garcia

Over the next past several months, investigators have worked relentlessly. On May 17, Liebrand announced that a suspect, Michael Garcia, 22, of Desert Hot Springs, was identified as being the suspect responsible for furnishing the Fentanyl that killed the juvenile. The investigation was presented to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and charges have been filed against Garcia. Riverside County Sheriff’s Office personnel have been unable to locate Garcia. An arrest warrant has been issued for Garcia and anyone with information on Garcia’s whereabouts is asked to call Riverside Sheriff’s Dispatch at 951-776-1099.

On Aug. 21, 2022, about 8:57 a.m., personnel from the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station responded to a call of an unresponsive female juvenile in the 15000 block of Via Quedo in the unincorporated area of Desert Hot Springs. Upon arrival, a 17-year-old female was found unresponsive in a bedroom. Lifesaving measures were unsuccessful, and the juvenile was ultimately pronounced deceased. The investigation determined the female juvenile had overdosed on fentanyl. The case was immediately assumed by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Overdose Death Investigations and Narcotics Unit (ODIN).

This is an ongoing investigation. Additional suspects have been identified and further arrests are anticipated. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Master Investigator Jim Peters at 951-955-1700.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens of the dangers of illicit narcotics, many of which may contain Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine and can cause death or serious bodily harm.

Image Sources

  • Michael Garcia: RSO
  • Drug death from fentanyl.: Shutterstock