SHEETROCK HILLS, Az (AP) --- A suburban neighborhood is rocked by the shocking and grisly discovery of a gruesome mass murder alleged to have been committed by someone who was once thought to be a leader in their community.
Manuel "Manny" Garcia, former owner of Handy Manny's Repair shop, was detained by the Sheetrock Hills Police Department after concerned neighbors alerted authorities about their concerns over the well-being of the tools in Garcia's care. According to police statements, it had been a number of days since anyone had seen or heard from them, and one witness reported hearing "loud noises, like breaking glass and shouting" just three nights before the discovery was made. A passing jogger noticed the smell as she passed by Garcia's house.
Once on the scene, investigators quickly found a hastily dug hole in Garcia's backyard containing a rusty coffee can. Inside the can were the remains of some of Garcia's tools, confirmed by relatives to be the remains of Squeeze the Pliers and Stretch the Tape Measure. Autopsy reports state that their bodies were badly tarnished and damaged from apparent neglect and abuse. Also found in the makeshift coffin were the remains of Alan the Allen Wrench, solving the mystery of his sudden disappearance back in 2005.
Still missing are the bodies of Felipe the Phillips Screwdriver, Turner the Flathead Screwdriver, Pat the Hammer, Dusty the Hand Saw, and Rusty the Wrench. Forensics experts found traces of rust and lubricant leading a trail to the back of Garcia's pickup truck, where they found his empty toolbox.
"While we have no material evidence that leads us to think that the missing tools have also been murdered," Sheetrock Hills Police Chief Hector Rodriguez stated in a recent press conference, "we are gravely concerned over their welfare."
It was originally thought by local media that Garcia had confessed to murdering all seven of his tools, allegedly shouting as he was being placed in the back of a police cruiser, "I killed 'em all!", first in Spanish and then again in English, before breaking off into maniacal laughter, but SHPD have denied having received any confession.
"We have detained Mr Garcia for questioning, but at this time we have no confession. He is our prime subject due to his close relationship with his tools, but he is being held without bail," Chief Rodriguez stated.
A candlelight vigil was held recently by those still holding out hope for the lives of the remaining missing tools. The suburban community is showing it's strength by continuing on through the wake of this horrible tragedy.
Once a successful local business man, Garcia's repair business took a hit after being arrested on three separate occasions for driving while intoxicated. Due to declining business, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, and lost his business and home properties on Main Street to foreclosure in 2010. Garcia took residence in a mobile home on the outskirts of Sheetrock Hills, and fell out of favor of the public when neighbors began reporting incidents of public drunkenness and sounds of apparent domestic abuse.
Manny and his tools, circa 2007, in happier times.
Some members of the community are speaking out against SHPD, saying that the death of Stretch and Squeeze could have been avoided if only they had listened to their complaints about Garcia. One neighbor, who provided this statement on the condition on anonymity, said that he reported seven different incidents involving Garcia, some in which he allegedly threatened his tools with an acid bath.
"Manny Garcia is a monster," he said. "He's a murderer and a menace to our neighborhood. It's a shame it took losing the lives of two tools to finally get the attention of Sheetrock Hills police."
At the time of this writing, no charges against Garcia have been filed, and the search for the missing tools is still going strong. Even after four days of fruitless searching in the Arizona wilderness, search parties and investigators still hold out hope, enlisting the use of helicopters to scout from the sky, hoping the sun may glint off of the metal of the tools. Nothing more than empty potato chip wrappers and soda cans have been found, and investigators plead to the public that anyone with information about the whereabouts of the tools to call Sheetrock Hills Police Department immediately.
It's tragic, really.
Happy Monday, folks.
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