Illegal disposal of bodies admitted

The Arizona Daily Star/January 28, 1978

Leaders of a Druid cult that transported the bodies of two children from Witch Wells, Arizona to a burial site near Ramah, N.M., have pleaded guilty to unlawfully disposing of the bodies.

Geri Leah Garcia, 34, and her husband, Richard Garcia, 37, were charged after a former cult member told a Valencia County grand jury the bodies of the infants were transported across state lines.

Garcia led officers to the gravesites last week as part of a plea bargain in which charges of child neglect involving other children were dropped.

Assistant District Attorney Ray Villani of Grants said yesterday that the couple received suspended sentences of six months each on the condition that they accept supervised probation.

The bodies, found in small wooden boxes buried in a 3-foot-deep grave, were the children of Annette Hinshaw, 24, originally of Denver. She was a cult member when the children died.

Jim Goodall, a state medical investigator, said one infant, a boy, was stillborn at seven months. The child's twin sister died of crib death at the age of four months.

A custody battle is pending over other children living with members of the cult, now residing in Albuquerque.

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