Beauty and the Priest: Revisiting a 50-year-old Texas Murder Case

A fascinating case worthy of “Law and Order,” via CNN: 

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

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.

To say the scandal rocked McAllen is an understatement.

Questioned by police, Feit failed lie detector tests. What was also suspicious was that just 24 days before the killing, Feit had been arrested for attacking another young woman at a church in a town about 10 miles from McAllen. Feit pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated assault. A judge found him guilty and fined him $500 with no prison time.

All this took place in 1960.

Now, more than half a century later, Feit lives in a pleasant neighborhood in Phoenix, after leaving the priesthood in the late ’60s. In a sworn statement to authorities and during an interview with CNN, Feit denied he killed Garza. Feit told police Garza left the rectory after he heard her confession and the last time he saw her, she was standing outside the church.

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

Read it all and watch the slideshow here. 

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