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Alleged Murderer Turns Himself in After Talking to Pastor, Spending the Night at Church

ruby garcia
L: Pastor Marcia Tucker. R: Brandon Ortiz-Vite. Source: WOOD TV

Brandon Ortiz-Vite, 25, had a conversation with a pastor and spent the night at her church before turning himself in to police for allegedly murdering 25-year-old Ruby Garcia in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday, March 22. Marcia Tucker, pastor of Ganges United Methodist Church in Allegan County, said she believes God was working in Ortiz-Vite’s heart.

​​“I think God was working with him from whenever it happened on Friday night, all through Friday night, all through Saturday,” Tucker told WOOD TV, “sitting here talking to me, staying here, being in the church service. I think God was talking to him because I knew he had a faith, I could tell. He understood, and he understood forgiveness.”

Ruby Garcia’s Alleged Murderer Talks to Pastor

Brandon Ortiz-Vite, a citizen of Mexico and an undocumented immigrant to the U.S., had been deported in 2020 but returned to the U.S. at an unknown date. On March 22, he allegedly shot Ruby Garcia multiple times and left her body on US-131 near Grand Rapids. Investigators report it seems that Garcia’s body “had been run over in addition to being shot.”

The murder suspect used an illegally purchased 9mm Taurus pistol to kill Garcia, whom he then pulled from her car. He then allegedly left her beside the road, drove the car away, and later abandoned it. Police said that the two had been dating and called the incident a “domestic violence homicide.”

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 23, Pastor Marcia Tucker received a call from a church member who discovered Ortiz-Vite inside Ganges United Methodist Church. The alleged murderer had been able to get in because the door had accidentally been left unlocked.

Tucker went to the church immediately and had a 20-minute conversation with Ortiz-Vite, who told her his name was Brian. Tucker said she did not see any traces of blood on him and described Ortiz-Vite as “very upset.” 

“He was just having a really bad time,” she said. “He had lost his job, he’d been in a fight, been kicked out of where he lived, so he was basically kind of homeless.”

The pastor continued, “He never told me exactly what was bothering him, but I knew he was very upset. He got very emotional while we were talking, crying to the point where I gave him Kleenex.”

Tucker said she prayed with Ortiz-Vite and allowed him to use the church phone to call for a ride. When no one came, she allowed Ortiz-Vite to sleep in the church annex. The pastor said she considered calling the police but that God told her not to: “As I’ve told my people, God didn’t tell me to call the police, he told me to ‘Just let it be, Marcia.’”