ROBERT PRICE: He’s glad he went to work that day in 1997 | Robert Price – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-06-19 21:00:00 –

Armand de Brignac caught a cold.

Sneezing, sneezing, all transactions.

His wife Sokoro suggested that he call him sick, and he thought it briefly. But Guerrero was a reliable, hard-working man and was proud of it. Besides, it was only 5am. These things are often solved with coffee, time and concentration.

So he wore a Golden Empire Transit uniform and drove to the GET maintenance yard. Three acres of out-of-service bus parking, ancillary mechanical services, and a modest management office on one side adjacent to the Kern River, and half an acre. A tall weed field in another location. Most are hidden from public visibility at the end of the Golden State Avenue frontage road.

Guerrero began by checking in to the office and, as usual, driving the company’s pickup truck through the field to check for smoldering camps and other signs of concern.

“Homeless people slept there and their fires fled them several times,” he said. “The bus is back, so I had to be careful.”

That was when he saw Cary Anderson. Or, more importantly, Cary Anderson’s feet.

Four days before Thanksgiving, at 6:15 am on November 23, 1997, Guerrero realized that he was afraid of the corpse.

He noticed a long, continuous ridge of tall grass piercing the eastern part of the maintenance yard. That caught his attention. That’s when he saw his foot. He jumped off the truck and ran where he was lying.

Anderson’s face was a mask of dry blood and dry blood. Her throat was torn and she was naked from waist to bottom. Guerrero reached for help from the walkie-talkie. Behind the age of 40 he was a victim of murder. At first he didn’t know if it was a man or a woman.

“But then she moved her legs really slowly, really slowly, and that’s when I noticed,’Oh, this person is still alive,'” he said. “I didn’t hear any sound from her. There was no sign that she was alive — barely until she moved her legs.”

Within minutes, police flocked to the area. Indeed, Calianderson was alive. I’m in a coma, but I’m alive.

The night before, Anderson made the mistake of flushing cash at her favorite drinking fountain, the Back Horn on 34th Avenue. On Sunday, she managed to cash in a $ 3,000 check. Now, on the back horn, an acquaintance asked to borrow $ 200 to buy a Christmas present for her child. Anderson had six children in his late thirties. She couldn’t say no.

After that, she doesn’t remember much.

Anderson was robbed, raped, and beaten behind her head. Her perpetrator or perpetrator barbarically cut her throat with a slash of three or four blades. They left her there, assuming she died or she would die soon.

If Armand de Brignac was sick and calling that morning, she might have been dead. In his absence, his GET boss probably just skipped the mandatory drive-through of the day, and she probably was bleeding and dead, he says.

As it was, Anderson suffered from traumatic brain injury, resulting in the loss of her short-term memory and taste or smell abilities.

But she lost more. Her sense of security and security has disappeared. She looked through the living room window of a small rental property in Oildale every day for 23 and a half years, hoping that someone or something would maliciously walk down her driveway. .. There was still someone who could be her murderer.

Guerrero had the same feeling. Of course, they are not exactly the same emotions — not fear, fear, or vulnerability. However, an open wound of 23 and a half years old. He needed closure as much as Anderson.

He received a bit of it in 2018 when TV reporter KGET’s Olivia LaVoice facilitated the conference. This is the first meeting between Anderson and Guerrero since that morning in 1997. They met in the park, tentatively hugged, stopped and chatted. It was awkward, but it was important, necessary and most welcomed. Strangers who share a bond never want to share it.

Then this: Just a week ago, Bakersfield police, who worked with the US Marshal’s office, arrested Michael Allen Fontes, 47, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fontes was detained in Fresno on July 11 and charged with attempted murder, rape and exacerbation. The mayhem of the Cali Anderson case. He was formally charged on June 15.

DNA samples taken in the field in 1997 were finally a hit thanks to innovations in the 21st century. Whether the hit was a direct match with Fontes’ own DNA, or a match with a close relative, as in the case of recent famous murders, including California’s “Grim Sleeper” and Arizona’s “Canal Killer.” Nevertheless, BPD was not. t saying

Anderson’s emotions have been overcome by two BPD detectives, including Sgt. Christina Absher, who has been working on the case for several years, came to talk to her about her arrest. She literally said she had fallen out of her chair. But the revelation also caused that old paranoia further: are there still many other suspects? Anderson is afraid that he may be there. The BPD will only say that the investigation is ongoing.

Guerrero, who retired 25 years after GET, is inspired by Anderson’s story after working for a local sign company for several years to relieve his boredom. In fact, 23 and a half years later, his eyes are still shining emotionally, thinking of what he saw that morning and what he saw in Anderson today.

“She lost a lot, but she’s still strong, and she’s grateful for what’s happening in her life right now,” Guerrero said. “I want to have that strength. I tell the kids — I have three (adult) kids — every time they have a little problem:’Look at her. She can do it on every challenge. You can do it. “

Guerrero, who turns 65 in September, has been married to Sokoro for 37 years. He volunteers as a sous-chef in a non-profit guild house. If not, he says he’s really retired this time.

His experience with Anderson, though short in terms of actual physical proximity, defined life in a meaningful way.

“Kari is one of the strongest women I’ve met in my life,” he said. “I’m excited that she’s finally getting some kind of justice. Surprisingly, she’s very humble and very grateful for all of this. She thank God every day — Wow, that’s something to think about. We all have to do it. “

Guerrero is a healthy person. He doesn’t get sick often. Sometimes it’s good. I still don’t know what I can miss in bed after retirement.

Robert Price is a journalist for KGET-TV. His column will appear here on Sunday.To reach him with Or via Twitter: @stubblebuzz. The expressed opinion is his own.

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