The women are all invested in standing up for women in abusive relationships now that they know they weren’t able to save their dear friend.
“She was always just so happy and bouncy when she came to work. It was unbelievable she was hiding such a secret like that,” said Tootie Hackett, Garcia's co-worker.
The young mother went missing in January, just a day after her sister and five others were killed in a horrific head-on crash. Her family and co-workers from Granzella's Restaurant searched for Garcia in Williams and all over Colusa and Yolo counties.
Hackett said six days into the search, one of Garcia’s friends was handing out missing flyers at a parking lot in Woodland.
"She goes, 'Oh my God is that Karen’s car?' And she goes running over to the car and Karen's in it. She actually found her," Hackett said.
But Garcia was dead. That was Jan. 14.
Days later, Garcia’s ex-boyfriend, Salvador Garcia, was named as a suspect in her murder. He has now evaded arrest for over a month.
Hackett said those closest to Karen Garcia suspected him as soon as she went missing. He had been charged with battering her before.
"They kept telling me Sal did something to her. And if the mother’s telling me that, I’m going with the mother’s feelings,” Hackett said.
Karen Garcia’s co-workers are heartbroken that they never had the chance to help her. They don’t want any more women to stay silent.
“You’re not only ashamed that the abuse is happening, but I think you’re also ashamed that you’re accepting it,” said Tiffany Scata.
Scata is getting the program up and running. She wants Karen’s House to be a safe place for women and children to stay.
“I hope something good comes out of it and we help somebody,” Hackett said.