MCALLEN, Texas – A former priest has been arrested in Arizona in the 1960 slaying of a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department arrested 83-year-old John Feit on Tuesday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Feit faces a murder charge in the death of Irene Garza in McAllen, Texas, and is awaiting extradition to that state.
Authorities say Garza visited Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where Feit was a priest, on April 16, 1960.
Garza, who was Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, had planned to go to confession that evening but never returned home.
Her body was found days later in an irrigation canal.
According to an autopsy, Garza died from a head injury.
Feit was a suspect in the killing. The case was reopened in 2004 but a grand jury did not indict the former priest. He was never arrested or charged in the case.
Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said he presented the case against Feit to a grand jury last week.
Ricardo said: “We felt that we had sufficient evidence to present to a grand jury. It was presented last week, and they came back with a true bill.”
According to the district attorney, the next step is to see if Feit will contest his extradition to Texas. It is unclear if Feit has an attorney.
The McAllen Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety Ranger Service assisted in the investigation and the arrest.