Coroner identifies suspected OD victim

Sheriff's Detective Bill Velek searches an older model Honda Civic Hybrid at the scene of a suspected fatal drug overdose near Spruce Street and 12th Street in Newhall. Austin Dave/The Signal
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The man who died of an apparent drug overdose in Newhall on Tuesday was identified by officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner as Juan Carlos Quijada Garcia, 31, of Newhall.

However, investigators with the coroner’s office have yet to determine how Garcia died, law enforcement officials responding to news of his death Tuesday said. They suspect he died of a drug overdose.

The married father of one, who according to statements posted online by his younger brother, died before he could see the birth of his second child.

Emmanuel Garcia, who set up a GoFundMe page for his brother in an effort to raise money for funeral costs, wrote in his post:

“He was the breadwinner of his family and, unfortunately, there is no insurance to cover funeral cost. Any contribution is heavily thanked from the family.”

Juan Garcia was pronounced dead by paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department at 10:52 a.m. Tuesday.

Also responding to the emergency call at the home where Juan Garcia lived on Spruce Street at 12th Street, were deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and members of the Southern California Drug Task Force.

“We’re here for an unknown cause of death,” said one DEA agent assigned to the task force who would not give his name.

“Based on the information we have, we believe it is drug related,” he said, a couple of minutes after having emerged from the deceased man’s house.

Task force members responded to the incident in an effort to get a jump on their investigation into drug-dealing people connected with his death.

Surviving family members are today reflecting on a caring family man who worked hard for his family.

Juan Carlos, who attended Hart High School, was a member of the Laborers Union Local 300.

“I really can’t believe it, because this is my only brother and he was a big part of my life,” Emmanuel Garcia wrote in his GoFundMe post.

“We talked almost everyday and there will be a difference from now on because I won’t get to feel the positivity he shared with me everyday.

“He always had a big smile and helped people who were down. He made my mom and dad laugh all the time. We had so much in common, we can talk about movies, video games, anything.

“I am really going to miss him. I know he’s in heaven now watching me from above. I will always love you, bro.”

At least $300 was raised by the GoFundMe site as of Thursday afternoon.

The public can visit the site at

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