Sonia Garcia holding her daughter Ashley
Slain NYPD officer's heartbroken family calls on L.I. police to bust her fiance
By TAMER EL-GHOBASHY, MICHAEL WHITE and BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Friday, November 30th 2007, 4:00 AM
As 11-year-old Ashley Garcia giggled and chased her little sister around her grandparents' Brooklyn home, the girls' slain mother stared down from a picture on the living room wall. A string of rosary beads and a cross were draped over the framed portrait of NYPD Officer Sonia Garcia, but her daughters and heartbroken parents have found no peace knowing her killer is still at large. Compounding the family's frustration is that they are convinced they know the murderer's identity. "It's been hard," said Ashley as her smile vanished and her brown eyes teared up at the thought of her late mom. "It's really different. It's just not the same anymore." Ashley's sister, Joselyn, 7, sat beside her on a couch, the girls' giggles replaced by shared grief. "I want him to be arrested," Ashley said. "It would be a little bit of satisfaction, but not so much, because my life won't be the same anymore without my mom." "Him," Officer Garcia's family charges, is NYPD Officer Alexis Chaparro, an early suspect in the slaying two months ago. He was questioned and released without being charged. Chaparro, 27, was Garcia's fiancé, and the couple bought a house together in North Bay Shore, L.I. They met at the Police Academy and planned to marry this spring. Outwardly, all seemed well until just before dawn on Sept. 29, when Chaparro called 911, claiming he found his lover shot in the bedroom of their Ackerson Blvd. dream house. Garcia, 28, was shot once in the chest, and suspicion quickly focused on Chaparro. Chaparro could not be reached for comment. He is suspended from the force while the investigation goes on. Seething with anger, Garcia's father, Luis Hernandez, 49, accused Suffolk County police of dragging their feet in probing the slaying. He feels he needs to remind authorities his daughter, a member of the Finest since July 2003, proudly served her community, risking her life daily on the streets of Brooklyn. "She lived her life for this state and we still haven't seen justice in her murder," said Hernandez, who is raising the daughters Garcia had from a previous relationship. Garcia's mother, Lucia Hernandez, added, "I'm begging them to arrest [Chaparro]. It will bring me a little bit of peace in my heart." While the parents described Chaparro as a jealous and controlling "monster," Suffolk cops said that's not enough to charge him for murder. Detective Sgt. John Twiname denied the family's charges that his department was dragging its feet on the investigation because Chaparro is a fellow cop. "There's nothing further from the truth. The case is being actively investigated as we speak," said Twiname, refusing to offer details or say if Chaparro remains a chief suspect. Ramon Garcia, 30, of Hartford, Conn., said detectives have told his family they have a "prime suspect" in his sister's killing and that he believes it's Chaparro. "They're saying we'll be the first to know when they make an arrest," Garcia said. "This is the same thing they've been telling us going on two months already, and nothing." As Ashley and Joselyn resumed their play in his living room, Luis Hernandez refused to give up hope. "I trust the system and our government," he said. "I trust there will be justice."
Sonia Garcia holds her daughter Ashley in a family snapshot.
Slain cop's parents Luis and Lucia Hernandez with Garcia's daughter Joselyn.