March 23, 2005

Confession to murder

The Brownsville Herald

The Brownsville Herald

March 23, 2005 — More than 40 years since the disappearance and death of McAllen’s Irene Garza, a former monk is confessing to knowledge that could help solve the case.

Dale Tachney met John B. Feit in Missouri in 1963. It was another life for both men — Tachney a former Trappist monk once known as Fr. Emmanuel was charged with counseling Feit, a troubled Catholic priest sent to a Missouri monastery after spending time in the Rio Grande Valley.

Three years before, police questioned Feit about Garza’s murder. According to police documents, Feit was the last person to see the elementary school teacher alive after hearing her confession at McAllen’s Sacred Heart Church the day before Easter.

He was not charged with her murder and to date, nearing the 45th anniversary of her death, police have yet to name another suspect.

“If you are asking me if I am the man that killed Irene Garza, I am not that man. I did not kill her,” Feit, now 72, told The Brownsville Herald in 2002, during the course of several interviews for a three-year newspaper investigation into her death.

But Tachney says Feit told him a different story in 1963.
Now 75, Tachney left the monastery in July 1967. ...

Tachney said that he counseled Feit on the “urge” to molest women kneeling in prayer. He sent Feit on unsupervised visits to churches in Chicago and Missouri, telling him to kneel behind women praying in churches to see if he felt the “urge.”

Feit returned from the trips, telling Tachney that he felt no urges and was not questioned further.

“It was our position that he could now leave the monastery and that it would be safe,” Tachney said.

Posted by kshaw at March 23, 2005 07:11 AM