Sophia Moikobu met Darwin Garcia Franco more than 12 years ago. When she needed work done in her kitchen, bathroom, or in other rooms of her home and office, he was the person she called. But knowing somebody that long meant Garcia wasn’t just a contractor — he was a friend.
To Garcia Franco, everyone was a friend. That’s often how he would refer to others, “as his friend,” Moikobu said. “Truly, Garcia Franco was a friend to everyone.”
Moikobu expected Garcia Franco that day, May 31. When she heard the news that someone had been murdered in Kirkland, she knew it was Garcia Franco. She spent all day trying to get ahold of him by calling and with text messages. There was no response.
“For some reason I had no doubt that would be him,” Moikobu said. “You know when you love somebody, you just have that feeling.”
She found out the next morning that her suspicions were correct.
At About 2 a.m., three 911 calls came in from residents of the house located in the 12900 block of 131st Avenue Northeast, according to charging papers. The calls came in from two minor children and an adult.
They reported that a physical confrontation was taking place between Garcia Franco and an unknown suspect. The unknown person entered the home by unknown means.
When police arrived, they found Garcia Franco covered in blood — a result of an estimated 30 stab wounds from an edged weapon. He was pronounced dead at the scene after life-saving attempts were made.
When a second resident attempted to intervene in the attack, she was assaulted by the same suspect — alleged to be Saif Raad Al-Obaidi — a Redmond man in his 30s.
The woman and her children were staying with Garcia Franco and his family at the time. When the woman was awoken by her children because of loud commotion, she went upstairs and told police she allegedly found the suspect AI-Obaidi, who she knew as “Saif” on top of Garcia Franco.
She attempted to stop the attack, by grabbing the suspect to pull him off from Garcia Franco. She was knocked to the ground and felt a knife. She was stabbed an estimated 18 times before she was able to escape. She was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.
The female victim identified the suspect as “Saif” and detectives with the Kirkland Police Department (KPD), who had been involved in an “unrelated investigation” in the same residence from events earlier in the week, knew of him.
When questioned about this earlier “unrelated investigation,” KPD Lt. Rob Saloum said he would not elaborate until detectives are “ready to release that information.” It is still part of the ongoing investigation.
Al-Obaidi was arrested outside his Redmond residence on May 31. Beneath his bed investigators found a wood handled serrated knife on the floor. It had what appeared to be blood staining on the blade. A search revealed a pair of red stained men’s blue denim jeans, which tested positive for blood.
Al-Obaidi was charged with murder in the first degree and attempted murder in the first degree. His arraignment hearing is set for June 16.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help with the funeral costs for Garcia Franco — a father of three boys who also leaves behind a wife. The hope is that enough donations will come in to cover the costs — preventing the family from taking out a loan to fund the funeral.
Moikobu said family shouldn’t have to struggle covering these costs during this difficult time. The idea is that others would help now, returning the favor to the father who helped so many.
“He was selfless and a giving person,” Moikobu said. “He carried his family on his back with his work. He would give anything and be without.”