A retired priest living in Arizona has been charged with the murder of a school teacher and former beauty queen from the border city of McAllen in 1960. The victim’s body was found near the Sacred Heart Church in that city. The priest from that church was considered a person of interest in that case for more than 50 years until now.
On Tuesday, Texas authorities arrested 83-year-old John Feit at his home in Phoenix, Arizona, KRGV’s Cary Zayas reported. The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office is working to extradite Feit to Texas where he is wanted on murder charges in connection with the violent death of then 25-year-old Irene Garza.
According to KRGV, Garza was last seen going to the church for confession when she went missing — five days later authorities recovered her body.
While the murder is dramatic in nature, a 2005 investigation by former Brownsville Herald reporter Emma Perez Trevino showed that the Catholic Church moved Feit out of the area in an apparent effort to avoid a scandal.
While in 2002 Feit denied having killed Garza, Perez Trevino tracked down Dale Tachney a former monk who served in a monastery that the church sent Feit to after the murder. According to Emma’s reporting Feit confessed to Tachney that he had murdered a woman in Texas. The former monk said Feit told about his urges caused by women in high heels and his propensity to attack them from behind.
Perez Trevino also dug up a 1960 assault charge in connection with the attempted rape of Maria America Guerra. In that case the victim survived and Feit was only fined $500 after pleading no contest to the charge.
The case took a political angle in 2014 when the family of Irene Garza called out former long-time Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra for never going after Feit. In 2014 Ricardo Rodriguez took the position from Guerra after a fierce election and re-opened the case.