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Indiana doctor to face charges in Omaha slayings

July 17, 2013|By Devin Kelly

An Indiana doctor is suspected of killing four people in retaliation for his dismissal from a Nebraska medical school residency more than a decade ago.

Anthony Garcia, 40, will face charges in the May slayings of Creighton University pathology professor Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer told reporters at a news conference Monday.

Garcia is also accused in the 2008 stabbing deaths of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter, the son of another professor, and Shirlee Sherman, the Hunter family housekeeper, Schmaderer said. 

Garcia appeared before an Illinois judge Tuesday. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning, when Nebraska authorities will seek his extradition on four counts of first-degree murder and use of a weapon to commit murder, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Illinois State Police arrested Garcia on Monday during a traffic stop in the southern part of the state. He had a .45-caliber gun and appeared to be intoxicated, police said.

Brumback and William Hunter, Thomas Hunter’s father, fired Garcia from his residency at Omaha's Creighton University in 2001 for erratic behavior, Schmaderer said. Garcia was a resident in the pathology department from July 2000 until his firing in June 2001.

A police task force had been monitoring Garcia’s movements for some time, Schmaderer said. 

"At this point in our investigation, we are led to believe that he committed these murders alone and we are investigating the history of Dr. Garcia," Schmaderer said, telling reporters that Garcia “does fit the elements of a serial killer.”

Search warrants were being executed at Garcia’s home in Terre Haute, Ind., and around the country, Schmaderer said.

An attorney for Garcia, Alison Motta, told the Chicago Tribune, “The family believes strongly in his innocence and that he has not done what he’s being charged with, and they fully stand behind him.”

Garcia's parents, who live in Walnut, Calif., declined to comment.

Schmaderer said Garcia had not lived in Omaha in the last 12 years. But he said investigators had gathered evidence to suggest Garcia entered the state at the time of the 2008 killings and again in May, when the physician is suspected of breaking into the Brumbacks' home, fatally shooting Roger Brumback and stabbing Mary Brumback to death.  

Garcia failed to get a medical license in at least four states, the Chicago Tribune reported, but received an Illinois license in 2003. A spokeswoman for the state regulatory agency, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said he had no disciplinary issues in Illinois.

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devin.kelly@latimes.com

Twitter: @devckelly

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