Cullman County woman receives 2 life sentences for 2019 murders of her children

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Sara Tapia-Franco (Cullman County Sheriff’s Office)
Sara Tapia-Franco (Cullman County Sheriff’s Office)

CULLMAN, Ala. – A Cullman County woman on Thursday, June 20, received two life sentences for the brutal 2019 murders of her children.

Sara Tapia-Franco, 37, according to court records, pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder. It was back on Oct. 12, 2019, that her sons, 3-year-old Alvaro Garcia and 9-year-old Taylor Garcia, were found murdered at a residence along the 4000 block of County Road 1718 near Baileyton.

Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry said at the time, “When deputies arrived, we set up a perimeter, and in that perimeter search we deployed our K-9. Our K-9 led us through an open field that adjoined the house, there’s some neighboring farms, in the field we were able to locate one Sara Tapia, which is the mother of the children and the person that we have in custody. We did locate a knife and there were multiple self-inflicted wounds on her.”

Facing two counts of capital murder and one count of capital murder of two or more persons, Tapia-Franco was booked into the Cullman County Detention Center 16 days after the murder. She was indicted in 2020 on three capital murder charges (one, capital murder of two or more persons, was dismissed, according to court records). According to her attorneys, she has a history of mental illness. In July 2021, she was ordered to be transferred from state mental health facility Bryce Hospital to the Cullman County Detention Center for a competency hearing.

After her guilty pleas and sentencing on June 20, 2024, Cullman County District Attorney Champ Crocker said in a statement, “There is no amount of punishment that would be enough or harsh enough for Sara Tapia-Franco. I am confident that she will never see the light of day again.” 

Cullman County Circuit Judge Martha Williams presided over the sentencing hearing.