Irene Garza, the McAllen, Texas, beauty queen who disappeared and was later found dead in a canal almost 60 years ago, is the subject matter of Saturday night’s 48 Hours. The 48 Hours episode about Garza, titled “The Last Confession,” is a repeat from their 2014 show and will most likely include the latest update. The Inquisitr previously reported that former Catholic priest John Feit was arrested earlier this year and charged with Irene Garza’s murder.
Twenty-five-year-old Irene Garza disappeared in 1960 in McAllen, Texas. She was last seen the night before Easter headed to the local church, where she was supposed to give a confession. The last person to see her was John Feit, a Catholic priest.
Family members became concerned after Irene Garza didn’t show up for her class the next morning.
An old article from 1960 described Irene Garza as a dark-haired elementary school teacher who was the former Miss All-South Texas in 1958. Her story was published nationwide, showing a picture of the pretty brunette, who stood five feet and four inches tall and weighed 118 pounds. Police begged anyone with information to come forward.
A search for the missing teacher extended to citrus groves in a heavily-wooded area near the Mexican border. Police at the time feared that she had been abducted, after finding a string of female items, including a shoe and a purse.
Irene Garza’s mother identified the purse and the shoe but told police that the scarf and part of a ripped dress didn’t belong to her daughter, according to the Advocate.
Several days later, her partially-clad body was found floating in a canal near the downtown area of McAllen. An autopsy report confirmed that she had received a blow to the head and had been raped. The victim was also suffocated.
Since her murder, John Feit has denied having anything to do with her death. However, members of the community, as well as friends and family members, have always suspected that Feit knew more than he was telling. John Feit was said to have confessed to the murder years back, but it was kept a secret until 2002, when his friend came forward, which resulted in the reopening of the Irene Garza death case. The case didn’t move forward because the district attorney at the time decided not to bring the case to court.
As for John Feit, he eventually packed up his bags and left the area and continued on with his life, which included getting married and having children of his own. Noemi Sigler, a family member of Irene Garza, told the Daily Mail that she believed the church covered up the crime.
“I don’t know whether it was out of respect for the church or anger or fear, I have no idea. Shortly after the killing, the church transferred Feit far away to a monastery. He would be moved to other locations over time, and about three years after the killing, the church transferred Feit to Our Lady of Assumption monastery in Ava, Missouri.”
Those who knew John Feit in the years after Irene Garza’s death say that he was a humble man who spent the rest of his life helping others. He is also described as soft-spoken and deeply compassionate. But even John Feit has admitted that in the 1960s, he was a broken man emotionally and spiritually.
Police records show that weeks before Irene Garza was kidnapped and murdered, John Feit was arrested for attacking 20-year-old Maria America Guerra, according to the Daily Mail. Today, it is believed that police have arrested the right man.
Irene Garza’s family has never forgotten her. They have fought for justice for almost six decades. The public interest in her grizzly murder has never died. There are at least two social media pages dedicated to the beautiful Latina’s memory, and several documentaries about her case have been made.
The Garza family is proud of what Irene Garza was able to accomplish in her short lifetime, as stated in the New York Times.
“She had a disarming combination of beauty and intelligence and, in her short life, amassed a collection of accomplishments and firsts: first Hispanic twirler at a majority-Anglo high school on the Texas-Mexico border, first in her family to go to college [and] homecoming queen.”
Their continued fight for justice finally paid off. Eighty-three-year-old John Feit was arrested in Arizona in February 2016 and booked on murder charges, according to NBC News.
To catch up on the latest of the John Feit/Irene Garza case, watch CBS 48 Hours this Saturday, April 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. On a previous episode of 48 Hours, the case of Lacey Spears was profiled.
[Image via YouTube]