Donald Trump Called Out by Family of Slain Woman; Migrant Charged

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday told a crowd of supporters on the campaign trail that he spoke with the loved ones of a Michigan woman—who authorities say was fatally shot by an undocumented migrant last month—but the victim’s sister told a radio station that Trump has never talked with the grieving family.

On March 22, Ruby Garcia, 25, was found dead on the side of highway U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids, according to Michigan State Police (MSP). Investigators said that she had been shot multiple times, and a man who was her boyfriend, Mexican national Brandon Ortiz-Vite, also 25, has been charged with murder, MSP said in a statement obtained by Newsweek.

Ortiz-Vite called 911 to turn himself in on March 24, and police found him on 68th Street near Fennville. He admitted to shooting Garcia in the head “multiple times” after the pair had an argument, state police said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to Newsweek in a statement on Tuesday that Ortiz-Vite is in the United States illegally after previously being deported back to Mexico in 2020.

An ICE spokesperson told Newsweek that Ortiz-Vite was arrested by Enforcement and Removal Operations Detroit on August 31, 2020, and ordered removed by an immigration judge roughly a month later. He was deported to Mexico on September 29, 2020, according to ICE.

“At an unknown date and location, Ortiz-Vite reentered the United States without inspection by an immigration official,” ICE said.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday attends a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trump delivered a speech, which his campaign has called “Biden’s Border Bloodbath.”

Spencer Platt/Getty

During an interview on Monday with Detroit radio host Justin Barclay, Trump said he hoped Garcia’s loved ones would attend his Grand Rapids rally.

“I’d love to have her family there if they’d like to be there,” the former president said. It is unclear if her family attended the event on Tuesday.

Immigration has emerged as a major issue ahead of the 2024 presidential election, with Trump and his supporters frequently criticizing President Joe Biden over his administration’s handling of the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

While at the Grand Rapids campaign stop, Trump told the crowd during his speech — dubbed “Biden’s Border Bloodbath” — that he spoke with Garcia’s family.

“Ruby’s loved ones and community are left grieving for this incredible young woman,” Trump said Tuesday. “They said she had just this most contagious laughter and when she walked into a room, she lit up that room, and I’ve heard that from so many people. I spoke to some of her family.”

It was unknown at the time of publication who, if anyone, Trump spoke with from the family regarding Ruby Garcia’s death. Newsweek reached out via email on Tuesday to Trump’s representatives for comment and via GoFundMe to contact the Garcia family.

After Trump’s speech, local station WXMI contacted Garcia’s sister, Mavi Garcia, in an attempt to verify that the family spoke with Trump.

“No, he did not speak with us,” Mavi Garcia told the station, but did not comment further on the former president’s visit to Grand Rapids.

Trump’s comments about Ruby Garcia’s death during his speech also ignited criticism online after social media users noticed he flubbed the shooting victim’s age.

“On March 22nd, he shot 17-year-old Ruby, actually, she was a beautiful, beautiful young woman. Ruby Garcia,” Trump said during his speech.

People were quick to point out on X, formerly Twitter, that Ruby Garcia was 25, not 17.

In connection to Ruby Garcia’s slaying, Ortiz-Vite has been charged with felony murder, open murder, carjacking, carry concealed weapon and use of firearm in the commission of a felony, according to MSP. He has been arraigned in 61st District Court and remains in custody in the Kent County jail without bond, state police said.

Update 04/02/24, 11:15 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with comment and information from ICE and MSP.