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Interview: Detective David Garcia, Glendale, CA. Police Department

Saturday, February 6, 2010, 1:28 p.m.

The witness, David Garcia, was the lead detective for the Glendale, California Police Department in the investigation of the 2002 murder of Ivan Riesling. Sheriff's Detective Sam Murphy interviewed Det. Garcia by phone

Detective Sam Murphy
Detective David Garcia, Glendale CA Police Department

Detective Murphy: Thanks for taking the time, Detective Garcia.

Detective David Garcia: Sure. I'll be glad to help.

Detective Murphy:  What ever happened to the investigation of the murder of Ivan Riesling in 2002?

Detective David Garcia: Nothing. It was never solved. I guess technically it's still my case, although it's been considered cold since late '02.

Detective Murphy: Why weren't you guys able to solve it?

Detective David Garcia: It was weird. I got there and immediately I'm thinking, this is simple burglary gone bad. The back door is busted in, the den is a wreck, and the victim is dead in his shorts. Seemed like he woke up one night, heard somebody downstairs, confronted them, and got bashed in the head.

Detective Murphy: Let me interrupt you - the murder weapon was a poker from the fireplace, right?

Detective David Garcia: Yeah. It was just thrown over in a corner. No prints on it. We figured the perp was wearing gloves, but the victim's blood was all over it. So anyway, I'm thinking this is a break-in. But as far as anyone can tell, nothing was stolen. I initially figured that the perp must have just freaked out over killing someone and dashed out, without thinking to actually steal anything. But, who knows what these guys think?

Detective Murphy:  So what made you think that it might not have been a simple burglary?

Detective David Garcia: I can't really give you any specifics, there was just this general sense that there was more to it. Then, when we started checking into Riesling's personal life, it was pretty messy. So that created more theories.

Detective Murphy: Like what?

Detective David Garcia: Well, this guy Riesling seemed to be a real smooth guy. Handsome, like a movie star. Had a pretty good job as an editor with a magazine. Those guys don't usually make a tremendous amount of money until they really hit the big time, but it seemed like a glamorous job anyway. But when we started looking, there was really a mess. He had this girlfriend and by all accounts, they fought like hell. This girl became a real regular at the hospital emergency room. But there was never any solid evidence that Riesling was doing it. And she defended him every step of the way. And then, Riesling started sleeping around. We found more floozies than you can imagine that this guy was seeing. I don't know how he had time for them all.

Detective Murphy: What about this girlfriend?

Detective David Garcia: Name was Natalie Posner. Her life story was pretty messy itself. Came from a broken home, tough circumstances, bounced around. The usual hard luck story. Scored a scholarship to USC, which is where she met Riesling. After they started dating, she quit school and went to work for his magazine.

Detective Murphy: Whatever happened to her?

Detective David Garcia: I don't have any idea. That's another thing that seemed to indicate this might not be a basic break-in. She disappeared. Just gone. We never got to talk to her. Far as we could tell, a few of her things were missing from the house, but a lot were left behind. Like she left in a big hurry. Her car was found abandoned in Bakersfield two weeks after Riesling got killed, but we never found her.

Detective Murphy: When was the last contact or sighting of her?

Detective David Garcia: We don't even have confirmation of this, but supposedly, she was seen at a ski lodge in Aspen in 2007. Some co-worker of Riesling's claimed he'd seen her. But by the time anyone got there to investigate, this mystery person was gone. But, the witness could've been wrong. We don't know for sure that was her.

Detective Murphy: Why wasn't she given more attention? I've done a little bit of research, but I didn't see her name very much in the papers or anything.

Detective David Garcia: Well, for one, we didn't have any real, concrete evidence against her. There was no physical evidence linking her to the crime scene. I mean, it is odd that she disappears right when he is murdered, but at the same time, a battered woman dating a womanizer finally leaves? Good for her. The timing is bad, but what if she suddenly woke up and decided to hell with him? There have certainly been stranger coincidences than her leaving the same time that her abusive boyfriend is killed by a crackhead doing a B and E.

Detective Murphy: It sounds like you don't suspect her.

Detective David Garcia:Hell yes, I suspect her. We searched for her like crazy. It's just that we had nothing solid. We can't go around throwing her name to the papers as a suspect when we have no solid evidence. Plus, we kinda hoped that if we kept quiet, she would surface sooner or later. But she never has so far.

Detective Murphy:  So if she's a suspect, what's her motive?

Detective David Garcia: She's pissed. Simple as that. I'm no psychologist and I'm not going to get into all that battered women syndrome and stuff. But it seems pretty clear to me that a kid who has had a crappy life, quits school and puts all her eggs in one basket with a guy, then he starts beating her and sleeping around, then she might just get a little mad. I think there is more than enough motive there. I just can't prove it.

Detective Murphy:How do you think she's managed to stay hidden so well?

Detective David Garcia: For one, she's never had much of anything at all. Rich people go on the run and they always screw up because they've got to have that Mercedes or they've got to try and move their money to the Caymans or something. Poor people have done without their whole lives, so it's not new to them. Natalie was doing okay when she and Riesling were dating, but she's essentially been in the trailer park her whole life. She had a real tough gig. It was easy for her to take a change of clothes, leave her apartment, ditch her car, then slide into the whisper stream and disappear.

Detective Murphy: Do you think she could've changed her appearance at all?

Detective David Garcia:That's entirely possible. One report said that she really underwent a change when she went to school. Dyed her hair, got some contacts, and suddenly, she's hot. The little girl from the trailer park started really making an impression on people. So I guess it's possible that she could have reinvented herself again.

Detective Murphy: Sounds like finding her might be a pretty tough job.

Detective David Garcia:Yep. Something we couldn't pull off.

Detective Murphy:Well, thanks for your time and we'll let you know if we come up with anything.

Detective David Garcia:Thanks.

Interview ends: 1:57 p.m.