The Widow and the Nurse, Part Two

When Bridget Garcia told police that her boss' son had raped her, they barely listened. This is her story.

Lotspeich remained confused about the police report. "I can't pick it apart," she said. "I can only tell you what [Bridget] told me. The whole thing in the report stating she was not pregnant shortly after the time of the rape was not right. I only did a pregnancy test about four months after she was [allegedly] raped."

Although Lotspeich did tell Cumbie there is no proof on file at Mount Sinai that Bridget was ever pregnant, she also told New Times it's not unheard of for a woman to miscarry without hospitalization, even if she's more than 20 weeks pregnant, as Bridget claimed to be. And despite a lack of solid evidence, Lotspeich believes Bridget's behavior is consistent with that of a rape victim.

"She was my patient before all this happened," Lotspeich said. "She was always a very timid and introverted person. There was a real change in her after it all happened. Something happened to her, I think; something transpired that changed this person. She became much more tremulous in her speech. She was very -- I mean, she looked like someone who looked shaken up. She really looked like something bad had happened to her."Even after filing the rape charges, Bridget maintained a relationship with Regina. They talked regularly on the telephone. Sometimes she'd go over to Regina's condo to share a dinner of Bridget's favorite Chinese food. "We'd just talk," Bridget recalled. "We'd talk about everything. Anything. She likes the company, you know."

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Michael Snyder tried to put a stop to the visits. "The petitioner wants the respondent to stay away from her and to leave her alone," he wrote to the court in requesting a restraining order that would prohibit Bridget from ever contacting Regina again. (Because he filed the request on behalf of Regina, she is the petitioner; Bridget is the respondent.) "The petitioner wants the respondent to stop going to her house to harass her and to stop calling her.... The petitioner wants the respondent to stop trying to contact her by any means. The petitioner states the respondent has been calling her and going to her house constantly in the past.... The petitioner is in fear of her safety and is seeking the protection and the intervention of the court."

Although the rape investigation was still open, Snyder subpoenaed Detective Cumbie to appear in court for a hearing on the restraining order. On April 18 Circuit Court Judge Raphael Steinhardt issued a permanent injunction protecting Regina from Bridget. (Cumbie ended up not testifying at the hearing.) If the nurse ever tries to contact Regina again, via telephone or in person, she faces the possibility of arrest.

When Snyder first spoke to New Times about Bridget Garcia, he almost immediately referred to a key piece of evidence Cumbie had generated. "You know she failed a lie detector test, don't you?" Snyder asked. This exam, which Bridget did fail, was one of the main reasons Aventura Police Chief Tom Ribel was so certain Bridget was extorting money from Regina and lying about being sexually assaulted by Daniel Greenhill. In fact the chief was confident enough in his belief to suggest New Times conduct a corroborating test. "You guys could probably spend a couple of hundred dollars to get your own [polygraph] test done," he recommended, "then you'd feel a whole lot more certain, too."

The results of the polygraph are included in the Aventura police case file. New Times took a copy of these results to noted polygrapher Warren D. Holmes. When questioned about the reliability of lie detector tests, Holmes often stresses that a polygraph machine is only a tool, and its results are only as reliable as the operator of that tool.

With 45 years of experience grappling with the truth, Holmes is widely considered one of the most reliable polygraphers in Florida, if not the United States. He has tested more than 68,000 people, most at his modest office on Flagler Street in Little Havana. The FBI and the CIA have invited him to teach his interrogation techniques at their academies. He has worked on more than 1000 homicide investigations and has examined individuals associated with Watergate, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. Using his lie detector machine as a tool, Holmes helped exonerate Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, two innocent men incarcerated on Florida's death row.

The Aventura polygraph was administered by Rolando Baldomero of Miami Polygraph Associates. Baldomero declined to discuss the examination with New Times. "I'm sorry," he said. "That would be confidential." Holmes, flipping through the Florida Polygraph Association's membership directory, noted that Baldomero has three years of professional experience and is not a member of the American Polygraph Association. (Holmes is a lifetime member.)

Bridget remembered that Baldomero, after a couple of false starts, completed his test, though he never told her the final results, which are included in the police report: "It is the opinion of this examiner that the polygrams in above test showed strong and consistent unresolved responses to the following relevant questions: #5, #7, #10, and #11. The chart tracings were consistent with those of an untruthful person."

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