Did This Priest Get Away With Murder? 6

A cold case heats up.

All evidence pointed police to one conclusion: A priest had killed a beautiful 25-year-old schoolteacher.

[In 1960,] searchers had found the lifeless body of former Miss South Texas, Irene Garza, face down in a canal in her hometown of McAllen. She’d disappeared on the day before Easter after going to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for confession.


An autopsy determined Garza had been raped while in a coma, and then had died from suffocation. Near Garza’s body investigators found items that belonged to the church, including a candelabra.

One item, a metallic Kodak slide photo viewer, belonged to a 27-year-old priest who was assigned to the church: the Rev. John Feit.

When John Feit was a 27-year-old Roman Catholic priest, he was questioned in Garza\'s killing.

Feit failed lie detector tests. Adding to the suspicion was that just 24 days before Garza’s murder, Feit had been arrested for attacking a young woman at a church in a town about 10 miles from McAllen.

[In that case,] Feit pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated assault. A judge found him guilty and fined him $500 with no prison time.

To this day, police officers and law enforcement agencies that have dealt with the case say they believe Feit killed her.

So why was he never put on trial?

It was unthinkable that a Catholic priest would commit such a crime. That’s the way Garza’s cousins remember it.

“We were accusing a priest — in those days, priests were infallible, ” said Lynda De La Vina, who was 9 years old at the time.

Another cousin, Noemi Sigler, was only 10 when Garza was killed. “It was impossible for a priest to do such a deed. I mean, if you thought of it, that would be sacrilegious.”

Some 42 years after the murder of Irene Garza,

Two surprise witnesses independently came forward — each separately claiming that they heard Feit confess.

One of them was Dale Tacheny, who was Feit’s spiritual counselor at the Missouri monastery where Feit had been sent a few years after the murder. Guilt compelled Tacheny to finally come forward.

But the county district attorney, not believing the case for the prosecution strong enough, declined to plow ahead.

To this day, John Feit, now in his eighties, says he didn’t kill Irene Garza. He remains a free man.

[photos via CNN]

6 thoughts on “Did This Priest Get Away With Murder?

  1. Mark Moore Jun 2,2013 12:18 pm

    The priesthood is a wonderful cloak for crime when dealing with superstitious people.

  2. www.kart.web.tr Jul 22,2013 10:54 am

    The priesthood is a wonderful cloak for crime when dealing with superstitious people.

  3. Winn Faulk Jul 26,2013 11:50 pm

    People (men, in particular) have a sexual m. o. Consider your own experience. No matter what your sexual appetite, you wouldn’t just do it once (or once every 10 years) and walk away. You would do it whenever the desire and appropriate opportunity coincided. (Of course, there is never an “appropriate” opportunity for rape and murder.) Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy obviously had big appetites, but they had limited venues, which contributed to their being found out. A Roman Catholic priest, particularly in 1960, would have enjoyed as many venues as the church would afford him. Has anyone in law ever looked for rapes and rape-related homicides (including those which were officially “solved” by yahoo prosecutors who felt compelled to give the good citizens of Texas and Missouri closure) in the congregations where Feit was assigned before and after the Garza killing? Has any canvassing ever been attempted to bring forward women who simply failed to report rapes in those parishes? We know that Ms. Garza was not this man’s only victim, but this man didn’t live to be 80 years old and only indulge his true sexual preference twice. There are more out there, if anyone would bother to look.

  4. ukash al Dec 16,2013 5:23 am

    nderful cloak for crime when dealing with superstitious people.

  5. j. alvarado Mar 1,2014 10:42 pm

    She was my brothers and my 2nd grade teacher I gave her flowers that I picked in front of Thigpen Elem school & i hope they put this case to rest.

  6. ukash Apr 30,2014 11:02 am

    The priesthood is a wonderful cloak for crime when dealing with superstitious people.

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