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Trump Campaign Clams Up After Slain Woman’s Family Denies Convo

Rebecca Cook/Reuters; GoFundMe
Rebecca Cook/Reuters; GoFundMe

Donald Trump claimed at a campaign rally on Tuesday that he had been in touch with the family of a young woman murdered last month by an undocumented Mexican immigrant, much to the surprise of the victim’s actual relatives.

But as the family denies any outreach from the former president, Trump’s team is refusing to say who, if anyone, they spoke to.

“They said she just had just this most contagious laughter, and when she walked into a room, she lit up that room,” Trump told a crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where 25-year-old Ruby Garcia was shot dead by a friend, Brandon Ortiz-Vite. “And I’ve heard that from so many people—I spoke to some of her family.”

Garcia’s sister Mavi quickly rebutted the assertion, telling local NBC affiliate WOOD-TV8 that Trump hadn’t in fact contacted anyone in the immediate family.

“He did not speak with any of us, so it was kind of shocking seeing that he had said that he had spoke with us, and misinforming people on live TV,” Mavi Garcia, who did not respond to multiple interview requests on Wednesday from The Daily Beast, told the outlet.

Asked to explain the apparent inconsistency in his tale, a source close to Trump on Wednesday told The Daily Beast the campaign wanted to “keep the details of who we spoke with and what was said private.” The Trump campaign refused to comment on the record and did not acknowledge follow-up questions about Trump’s assertion.

Suspect Brandon Ortiz-Vite’s mugshot.

Brandon Ortiz-Vite.

Kent County Sheriff Office

Ortiz-Vite, 25, was brought to the U.S. as a child, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He was arrested in August 2020 on unrelated charges, and deported back to Mexico the following month. He later re-entered the U.S. at “an unknown date and location… without inspection by an immigration official,” ICE said in a statement.

Ruby Garcia was shot dead on March 22, her body discovered on the side of US-131 with multiple bullet wounds to the head. Ortiz-Vite turned himself in on Sunday, and admitted to killing Garcia after an argument, according to police. Some media reports have described the two as a couple, but Mavi Garcia said that they had not been an item.

Trump used his Grand Rapids appearance to demean those living in the U.S. without proper authorization, calling them “animals” and “not human.” Mavi Garcia criticized Trump for focusing so much of his ire on undocumented immigrants, who are no more likely, statistically speaking, to commit a violent crime than any other group.

“Nobody really speaks about when Americans do heinous crimes, and it’s kind of shocking why he would just bring up illegals,” she told WOOD-TV8. “What about Americans who do heinous crimes like that?”

Still, Mavi Garcia said, “I wish [Ortiz-Vite] would have stayed in Mexico.”

Before Trump spoke on Tuesday, his campaign handed out photos of Ruby Garcia and others they said were victimized by the undocumented—a tactic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, described as “shameful.”

In the aftermath of Ruby Garcia’s death, Mavi Garcia set up a GoFundMe campaign, which raised nearly $20,000 before donations were disabled by the family.

“Thank you to everyone that has supported us through these tough times, we appreciate all the love,” it read, in part. “Forever Ruby’s World[.]”

At the same time, the Garcias appear to have tired of all the attention, with Mavi posting Tuesday afternoon on Facebook: “I would NOT like to speak with any more news media I’d appreciate it if i stopped receiving calls and messages about the situation. I cant grieve in peace and my family cant either if we keep being asked about this tragedy.

All i want is justice to be served and be left alone! I say this in the most respectful way possible i appreciate those who were interested in knowing how ruby was in life i want to continue remembering her that way ..”

Ortiz-Vite is being held without bond, on various charges including felony murder, according to jail records. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 9.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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