60 Years Later, A Murdered McAllen Schoolteacher May Get Justice

Texas Standard

November 30, 2017

By Michael Marks
Written by Jen Rice

On April 16, 1960, a 25-year-old schoolteacher and former beauty queen named Irene Garza attended confession at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen. Five days later, she was found dead in a nearby canal. An investigation revealed she’d been sexually assaulted, beaten, and suffocated.

No one’s ever been convicted of murdering Garza. The crime has loomed over the Rio Grande Valley for nearly 60 years. But now, the priest who heard her final confession has been charged with her murder. John Feit, who’s since left the priesthood, will stand trial this week in a case that’s attracted national attention.

Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro, a reporter for the McAllen Monitor, says the trial stems from a campaign promise made by Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., who vowed to get justice for Garza’s family.

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