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Murder suspect in custody, victim identified

Sunnyside detectives were busy collecting evidence and working leads to locate Ismael Garcia, 18, of Prosser yesterday (Thursday).

The hard work paid off and Garcia, a suspect in the homicide of Francisco Bautista, 18, of Sunnyside was apprehended.

Police said Garcia was taken into custody shortly after 7 p.m. last night. He is currently being held under investigation at the Sunnyside City Jail.

Bautista, the victim, was yesterday afternoon positively identified by Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins, who has scheduled an autopsy for today.

Preliminary details released by police conclude Bautista was shot multiple times in the upper torso, which led to his death.

Bautista's body was discovered at South Hill Park this past Wednesday evening shortly after 8 p.m. when police responded to a report of a gunshot wound victim.

He was transported to Sunnyside Community Hospital, where he subsequently died as a result of his injuries.

Sunnyside police say the victim was not known as a documented gang member. He was a senior at Sunnyside High School, and school district officials said he was scheduled to graduate in June.

Police said Bautista was also a father.

Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck said, "The Sunnyside Police Department is working diligently to investigate the recent homicide that occurred in the city. We are contacting and searching for any gang members and suspects who may have been involved in this incident."

Police officials believe the killing of Bautista to be gang motivated and have in custody two other individuals believed to be involved in the homicide, an 18-year-old man from Sunnyside and a 14-year-old female of Sunnyside.

"We continue to commit to the citizens of Sunnyside that we will relentlessly pursue any gang member who is involved in a crime in the city," said Schenck.

He continued, "We believe that, although Sunnyside still has a gang problem, we are making headway in the safety and security of our citizens."

Anyone with information regarding the shooting and subsequent murder of Bautista is urged to call the Sunnyside Police Department at 836-6200.

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