The Washington Post’s August 9 front-page story about the brutal murder of Vanessa Pham is missing a critical detail. The young woman's alleged murderer is an illegal immigrant; a fact that is omitted entirely from Justin Jouvenal's story, even as Jouvenal mentioned Julio Miguel Blanco Garcia has a prior criminal record. It's not like Jouvenal was unaware of Garcia's being in the country illegally. This has been covered in other local news outlets previously.
What makes the story particularly of interest is that Pham was being a good Samaritan, giving Garcia and his infant daughter a ride to the hospital when Garcia allegedly flipped out and murdered her in cold blood in a fit of paranoia induced from PCP:
The investigation by Fairfax County police got off to a promising start. The blade of the knife used to kill Pham was found under the driver’s seat and had a fingerprint on it, according to a police report. More prints were lifted from the car’s exterior.
As the investigation ground on, 21 / 2 years passed. Authorities seemed no closer to an arrest. Then on Dec. 10, 2012, they got a huge break. An official from a regional fingerprint database called a Fairfax County detective to say there was a match on the prints collected at the scene.
“[Blanco Garcia] was arrested in April for larceny of champagne. Imagine that!!” Fairfax County police detective Robert Bond wrote in an e-mail the same day.
Blanco Garcia had stolen three bottles of Moet & Chandon from a Giant Food store in McLean, court records show. Police took his fingerprints after his conviction.
Three days after the fingerprint match, Blanco Garcia was arrested at a job site in Vienna. He told authorities that he never told anyone about the killing. A search of his computer revealed that he appeared to track the progress of the investigation online.
His DNA matched that found at the scene, according to court records.
That’s great. Let justice be done in the matter, but at five times in his article, Jouvenal cites the police report, yet failed to mention that Garcia is an illegal alien, which is a key detail that goes along with his PCP use. After all, Blanco Garcia suffered "years of substance abuse and a handful of arrests," including when he "allegedly brandished a knife at security guards." This is the sort of violent, drug-addled illegal immigrant who should have been a priority to deport from the country. Failing to note his immigration status helps to shield readers from crucial information that goes to an ongoing political debate: stricter immigration enforcement and immigration reform.
(Julio Miguel Blanco Garcia and his victim Vanessa Pham)