In a very sad saga, a woman named Katie Marie Tagle dated a man named Stephen Garcia and had a baby with him. Katie Marie has said that he abused her throughout their entire relationship.
She broke up with him, became involved with another man, and had to go to family court over custody and visitation of their infant son, Wyatt.
Stephen, enraged over Katie leaving him, began making multiple threats to take Katie’s life and the baby’s life and continued to be violent toward Katie, at one point proposing to her and then physically knocking her down during a child exchange.
Upon receiving these threats, Katie went to court to seek restraining orders, each of which the judges denied indicating that they believed Katie was lying to gain advantage in the pending custody proceedings.
The day after the third courtroom denial, Stephen sent Katie an e-mail containing a story called “Necessary Evil.”
The story describes in detail Katie’s and Stephen’s relationship, and in the end, the story has two endings. In “Happy Ending,” the female character returns to the man. In “Tragic Ending,” the character takes his son to a lake, puts him to sleep with Benadryl and the baby dies. “He will have a better life with you then (sic) we can give him here,” the man tells God before taking his own life.
Katie called 9-1-1 after reading the story, and the responding deputy immediately went to the courthouse and obtained an emergency restraining order for her.
However, in Victorville court Jan. 14, Judge Robert Lemkau would not uphold the restraining order and ordered Katie to immediately give Wyatt to Stephen, as it was the day his scheduled visitation was to begin.
The judge made it clear that he believed Katie was lying to gain an unfair advantage in custody proceedings. Then, instead of ensuring the child’s safety in the event the mother might be right, the judge decided to err on the side of endangering the child by ordering that the baby immediately be handed over unsupervised to the man who repeatedly threatened to take the child’s and the mother’s lives in writing.
Here is the incredible transcript to that hearing.
This is nothing unusual. This goes on in courts all the time. In the presence of a custody dispute, judges routinely believe that anyone claiming abuse is doing so to gain unfair advantage in cutody proceedings, and routinely order the child then placed with the abuser, regularly going so far as to completely deny custody or visitation to the reporting parent.
What is unusual in this case is that within 10 days of that hearing, Stephen took Wyatt up into the mountains and killed the baby and himself, just as he had repeatedly warned.
Here is a detailed version of this story: