Another homicide occurred in Amarillo near I-40 and Lakeside.

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The Amarillo Police Department was called out to the parking lot of a convenience store near East I-40 and Lakeside on Tuesday, November 29th at 6:40 pm.  The call was about an unresponsive female. Upon arrival Amarillo PD discovered 34-year-old Iliana Michelle Garza deceased from an apparent homicide. The Amarillo Police Department called in their Homicide Unit to investigate.

The APD Homicide Unit located the suspect, John Paul Ortega, a 35-year-old male. Ortega was arrested for murder and booked into the Potter County Detention Center.  APD Homicide Unit is still investigating the case.

This unofficially marks the 29th homicide in Amarillo.  This surpasses the homicides that Amarillo saw in 2021.

When homicides like this occur most of the time we stop for a moment and feel the sadness that someone lost their life, but this was a life that was stolen. Iliana was a mother of three, not only was she a mother, she was a godmother, a daughter, a granddaughter a niece, and a friend to many. She was always there to offer a helping hand.

According to Sarah Clark, mother to Iliana's godson

When I was homeless with a newborn, she was the one who took me in and showed me how to be a mom.

According to Clark, more than anything, Iliana loved her three children. She was a force of nature and was known for her fierce determination to persevere and overcome the many obstacles she faced.

Clark declined to answer further questions, citing respect for the privacy of Iliana's family. But did add that those close to the woman "just want to know why. Why did this happen? Why?"

Amarillo Murders in 2021

With an official tally of 27 murders, the year 2021 saw the highest number of homicides in Amarillo since 1994.

Below is a closer look at the year's criminal acts that resulted in life lost.

**Note from the Editor: The following is not an exhaustive list. We have compiled what you see below from news reports, official police statements, along with where the case stands in the court system. If you see any errors in reporting or fact, please email the editor directly at along with any supporting documents.

We wish to stress that all individuals charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

***Not pictured: Edward Matthew Gamez

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