POLK COUNTY, FL (NBC) - A University of Florida student made a startling discovery when he Googled his own name last weekend. His name and picture were wrongly linked to a murder investigation.
The Zachary Garcia who goes to the University of Florida is a top student who balances school, work and his aspirations to become a popular DJ. When the 18-year-old found an unexpected photo of himself on line it sent him into near panic.
The images linked him to a story about a burglary home invasion in Davenport, Florida. The case ended with one teenager dead, shot by the homeowner, and three other teens charged with felony murder. One of those teens was named Zachery Garcia, but it wasn't the Zack Garcia from Gainesville, even though that's whose photo investigators released.
Sheriff's officials say the mix-up in the pictures came because both Zack Garcias were born on March 6th, although one year apart. Officials mistakenly released the wrong picture to the media and no one caught the error until the innocent Zack Garcia saw his photo online.
Sheriff's officials sent out a new correct photo of the 17-year-old Zachery Garcia who cut a plea deal and is serving time in juvenile detention. They also apologized for the mistake, which the innocent Zack Garcia says still doesn't un do all the online links that could linger.
"I just want to clear my name and I want to get the story out there that people need to know that this could happen to anybody," he says.
Zachary Garcia's mom says she talked to representatives from Google who told her it may take four to six weeks for all the corrected information to essentially erase her son's link to the crime he had nothing to do with.