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Body of 1998 murder victim identified

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By Brent Schanding

Landmark News Service

Investigators believe they have identified a murder victim, found by hunters in a Henry County ditch more than nine years ago.

The man, Miguel Angel Garcia, was reportedly killed on an eastern Jefferson County farm in a 1998 cocaine-deal gone wrong, investigators believe.

Garcia's skeletal remains were linked to DNA samples from the FBI's missing-persons database.

Hunters found those remains in February 1999 and forensic specialists determined the man had been beaten and shot.

Three people, Patrick W. Meeks, Michael Anthony "Tony" Peak and Leann Bearden, all in their 30s, were convicted of the murder after each testified they tried to rob the man of cocaine stashes. However, they were apparently unable or unwilling to identify the man.