‘Old‘ security photo of missing Rita Gutierrez-Garcia shouldn‘t have been distributed, Longmont police say

Longmont police say that a photo circulating on Facebook of disappeared is “old news” and wasn‘t meant to be distributed.

The photo shows Gutierrez-Garcia, who was last seen on March 18 walking into a parking lot behind 3‘s Bar on Main Street at 2:30 a.m., standing near a man and a woman in what appears to be a bar. There are white arrows pointing to the three of them, and a textbox says to Longmont Detective Mark Cooper with information that could help identify those in the photo.

The photo was first posted to an individual‘s Facebook page on April 25 before it was shared in the group “Real neighborhood watch Longmont” shortly after.

But according to Detective Sgt. Sean Harper, the photo was never meant to be released. Cooper created the image at the start of the investigation when police were trying to identify everyone in the case, he said.

The photo was printed out and brought to Breakers Grill on Main Street, which was one of the places Gutierrez-Garcia patronized on St. Patrick‘s Day before she went missing. Staff at Breakers helped police identify everyone, and they have since been interviewed, Harper said.

The photo was left at Breakers with an employee, who posted it on social media, according to Harper.

“In an ideal world, I would‘ve rather that not happen,” he said, adding it wasn‘t a “huge mistake.” “All it does is stir up people who don‘t really know what‘s going on with the investigation.”

Longmont police said the image is “definitely old news,” according to a screenshot of a Facebook conversation with the public safety page posted as a comment beneath the photo.

The case of Gutierrez-Garcia‘s disappearance is still under investigation, Harper said, adding that police are “being realistic” about the possibilities.

“This is completely outside the realm of what she‘s done in her whole life,” he said.