HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO)—Merardo Magana Garza was lovingly known as “Tano.” He was adored by many in the city of Mission and was known to be a sharp dresser and a ladies’ man.
The 63-year-old father was found dead on April 18, 2006 west of Los Ebanos.
“The body was located inside the smaller cement irrigation pipe,” said Hermelinda Chavez with the Hidalgo County Major Crimes Unit. “Irrigation workers were the ones that found the body.”
According to Chavez, at the time investigators could not determine Garza’s cause of death.
“Officials were unable to see or say how he died because his body was burned and decomposed,” said Chavez. “But, it was ruled as a homicide, the cause is just undetermined.”
Garza still had his jewelry when officials found him, according to Chavez.
Witnesses told investigators Garza was with friends at Los Galleros, a bar in Los Ebanos.
He arrived at 11 p.m. and left at 2 a.m.
“When police interviewed witnesses, they said they saw Garza being shoved into a white pickup truck,” said Chavez. “Behind that white pickup truck, there was a red BMW that was following the truck.”
Witnesses never called law enforcement.
“They said they didn’t think much of it.” said Chavez.
The distance between Los Galleros and where Garza was found is half a mile.
“He never made it back home and well they are assuming that when he was shoved into the truck, he was thrown into the pipe,” said Chavez.
Garza’s nephews and nieces filed a missing person report on April 15, and an investigation was launched by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.
Chavez told ValleyCentral Garza’s friends at the bar were cleared.
Garza was a Mission resident and self-employed. He fixed cars and motorcycles from his home.
Unrelated to his death, records show Garza was arrested in 1998.
According to public records, Garza threaten a woman and was charged with one count of terroristic threat and placed on probation.
Chavez said investigators have been unable to reach out to family members for new leads and investigators have no trace of immediate family.
ValleyCentral located his obituary, which said Garza was married with children.
If you have any information on this suspect or this case, please call the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office at 956-383-8114. You can call anonymously to the Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers hotline at 956-668-8477. If the information provided through the Crime Stoppers hotline leads to an arrest, you may qualify for a reward.