75-year-old man charged with murder in disappearance of Coppell woman
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN / The Dallas Morning News
COPPELL – Police arrested a 75-year-old man on a capital murder charge Monday night in the case of a woman missing since last week and whose body still has not been found.
Officers arrested Leroy Tellgren at his Carrollton home about 7:30 p.m., Coppell Police Chief Roy Osborne said. Investigators believe he killed Kathleen Garza, 49, whom he befriended several years ago when they worked together at a school.
"Unfortunately, this is one of those times that a police chief dreads," Osborne said in announcing the arrest at police headquarters. The chief declined to discuss a possible motive in the killing.
Police had said Garza was last seen about 9 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Market Street Shopping Center on North Denton Tap Road in Coppell.
Garza's husband, Raul, said his wife had planned to meet Tellgren for coffee.
"She saw him as a father figure," Raul Garza said. "I had no reason to believe otherwise."
When he couldn't reach his wife, he said, he called Tellgren, who told him he didn't know where she was.
"It blows my mind why anybody would hurt her," he said.
Osborne said police have also recovered Tellgren's pickup truck. But they want to talk to any witnesses who may have seen Tellgren between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday.
"We still want to find Kathy," Garza said as he fought back tears.
Tellgren was believed to have been driving the dark green Chevrolet S-10 extended-cab pickup truck with Texas license plates 46X WC5. The truck has a Masonic Lodge insignia on the back, police said.
Garza had worked as a teacher at Coppell Middle School East but left last May, according to her husband.
Over the weekend, family, friends and neighbors posted fliers at businesses in Coppell and surrounding areas seeking information about Garza.
Police had said they spoke to a person of interest shortly after she disappeared.
On Monday, they identified that person as Tellgren but said they did not have enough evidence to arrest him earlier.