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To whom it may concern,

I am Bonnie Taylor, the paternal aunt of Garret Rodriguez, and the family representative for Garret’s case. This letter is the result of my no longer being able to keep quiet and wait for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. I have been more than patient for six years while the HCSO has conducted themselves in an incompetent and unprofessional manner in the handling of Garret’s case from the very beginning. I had hoped that Sheriff Honsal would invite a new era of professionalism into the department, but after the recent HCSO press release regarding the “Murder Mountain” series, I now feel the HCSO will only continue to hide behind excuses. It is also clear to me that they only sought to discredit the documentary because it exposes their incompetence in the case. I will now outline for the public to see exactly what I have been dealing with the last six years when I speak of their incompetence and unprofessionalism:

1) Det. Todd Fulton told me within the first weeks of the missing persons report that “[my] nephew was a drug dealer, and these are the consequences of that life.” Det. Fulton later went on the record for the Times-Standard before Garret’s truck was found, and claimed there was no evidence Garret made it to Humboldt County. It is only through the professional and highly competent efforts of Cook & Associates that the evidence of Garret’s truck was discovered and eventually returned to the family.

Garret Rodriguez (file photo)

2) When we first approached private investigators about Garret’s case after getting the aforementioned responses from Det. Fulton, Cook & Associates outlined for us the problem of hearsay evidence in Garret’s case. The recent HCSO press release even went so far as to give the public a legal definition of hearsay. The HCSO wants the public to believe their hands are tied to the case due to the lack of non-hearsay evidence. Why did Det. Jennifer Turner tell me in July of 2017 that the suspect “gave an original statement to law enforcement, and it is on file as, ‘I shot Garret and buried Garret’”?

Please tell the public, Sheriff Honsal, under what conditions you chose to ignore probable cause for arrest?

3) The HCSO took several days to come and retrieve Garret’s body after Alderpoint residents had repeatedly called them about the now infamous “Alderpoint 8” incident. This is in direct conflict with the false narrative of the HCSO that Alderpoint residents forced the alleged murderer to confess due to “increased pressure on the community […] because the community wanted the Sheriff’s Office to stop looking for Rodriguez […].” HCSO was not out looking for Garret. If HCSO had been out looking for Garret, we never would have had to get private investigators involved.

4) The HCSO published the identification of Garret’s body in the media before the family had been notified. Despite near-daily and weekly calls to the HCSO and national news media coverage, the Rodriguez family was not given the professional courtesy of being notified their loved one was dead before the public knew.

5) The family was never informed about the local and federal prosecutors declining the case. The first time I became aware of this information was when it was published publicly in the recent HCSO press release.

Despite HCSO calling “Murder Mountain” “sensationalized,” I feel as a person who lived through this horrific event that the producers and the persons interviewed accurately portrayed the events that led to the recovery of Garret’s body. While there are elements of the story that no one knows but those who were present, the main element of Garret’s story that the public needs to take away is this: Garret’s alleged murderer is still at large, and the HCSO has not conducted this investigation in a way that is satisfying to the family of the deceased. We do not feel that justice has been served in this case.

I look forward to seeing Justice for Garret!

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