Details emerge in arrests of Sullivan city mayor, partner

The arrests of Sullivan City Mayor Leonel Garcia and his common-law wife earlier this week stemmed from a domestic dispute from almost two weeks ago, the details of which differ between the two accounts detailed in the probable cause affidavit.

Garcia and his partner, Evelyn Vela, filed police reports against each other after which they were each charged with assault, a Class A misdemeanor.

On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 16, Evelyn Vela went to the Sullivan City Police Department to file a report against Garcia alleging he assaulted her.

“Vela advised they had a verbal dispute that ended up getting physical,” the complaint stated.

She told the officer that Garcia had taken her cellphone and was trying to look at what she had in it, according to the complaint.

She was trying to leave and take her son with her but she said Garcia became aggressive and punched her on her lower lip, choked her, and pulled her hair.

“Vela advised that she defended herself however she could, and managed to escape and left her home,” the complaint stated.

She went to her mother’s home in La Joya and filed a police report with the La Joya Police Department where she was referred to the Sullivan City Police Department.

Evelyn Vela

The complaint states that Vela had a small laceration to her lower lip where she was assaulted and photographs were taken as evidence.

A police officer then spoke to Garcia who recounted a similar incident with the cellphone.

Garcia told the officer that when Vela told him she was leaving with their son, “he hovered in a crouched position over the child who was sleeping.”

He said Vela then choked him from behind with her hands and used her forearm to continue choking him and impeding his breathing.

“Garcia stated once he began having trouble breathing, he pulled (Vela) by her hair for her to release him,” the complaint stated. “Garcia then advised that he jerked his head back and he possibly struck (Vela) with his head causing the laceration to her lip.”

He denied punching her.

The complaint stated Garcia had scratch marks around his neck area where he stated that Vela tried to choke him.

Because both provided stories in which they were victims, both were charged with assault.

The Sullivan City Police Department investigated the matter with the assistance of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, according to Sullivan City Police Chief Richard Ozuna.

They were booked on Tuesday, Feb. 25 and released later that day, according to Hidalgo County court records, on a $1,000 cash surety bond set by Justice of the Peace Jaime “Jerry” Muñoz.