What to Know About the Murder of Christie Wilson and Conviction of Mario Garcia

Christie Wilson
Christie Wilson

Christie Wilson, 27, disappeared after a night out at the casino in California in 2005.

Christie Wilson, 27, disappeared after a night out at the casino in California in 2005, but it wouldn’t be until 15 years later that her body would be found, although Mario Garcia, a man she met that night, was convicted of her murder long before then. 

Wilson had been at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln on the night of her disappearance and immediately a search for her ensued. Wilson’s mother, Debbie Boyd, vowed to “48 Hours” at the time that she wouldn’t stop fighting until she found her daughter. 

"I want my daughter back and I want her back now," Boyd told “48 Hours” at the time. "I may be 5-foot-1 and blonde, but they just met a barracuda and the fight's on."

The Evidence Against Mario Garcia 

In surveillance footage of that night, authorities captured Wilson and Garcia, 53, walking out of the casino together. At one point, Garcia tries to put his arm around Wilson and she pushes it away, 48 Hours reported. 

Garcia, who was married with two children, claimed to “48 Hours" in 2006 that the pair had met that night and gambled together, but when they walked out the casino that night, they each went home in their own vehicles. The evidence told a different story.

When police showed up at Garcia’s home he had scratches on his face and chest that no one at the casino could remember him having. Police also found Wilson’s hair in his car and small traces of blood. Three weeks after Wilson’s disappearance, Garcia was charged with her murder. Her body had still not been found. 

Garcia’s defense attorney attempted to argue during his 2006 trial that Wilson could still be alive because her body hadn’t been found, but the jury didn’t buy it and he was convicted. Boyd hoped that Wilson would finally reveal the location of her daughter’s body but he maintained his innocence. For years, he kept filing appeals. 

Boyd finally reached out to Garcia in 2017, hoping he could provide more information, “48 Hours” reported. The pair began writing letters and according to the show, Garcia hinted that he was willing to trade information for an early release from prison. Boyd decided she wouldn’t negotiate with Garcia. 

”I was sitting there thinking, 'What on Earth are you doing, Debbie? Get a grip,'" Boyd told “48 Hours.” ”It would be such a disgrace... He will not use my daughter's body as a bargaining chip.”

A Break in Years-Long Search for Christie Wilson's Body

Garcia’s son Kris contacted authorities in 2017 and told them that his father had been acting very odd in the days after Wilson’s death and spent hours in their backyard digging with their tractor, CBS Sacramento reported. He showed them two areas in the yard where they should look. 

In August 2020, authorities decided to search his old property one more time, they found a skull deeply underground that turned out to be Wilson’s.

“Searching for Christie was, as one of the investigators said, was like looking for a needle in a haystack but everything’s the haystack,” said Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell during a press conference at the time. 

Boyd said at the time that she was “very very grateful that Kris came forward.”

On Dec. 24, 2020, Garcia died of pneumonia at the age of 68. Boyd, told CBS13 that her family was in “tremendous peace” after the news of his death.

"48 Hours" explores a Boyd's quest for answers in her daughter's murder in "The Search for Christie Wilson," airing Saturday, Jan. 30 at 10/9c on CBS.