Former Creighton resident arrested in connection with 2 Omaha double homicides - Omaha.com
Published Monday, July 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm / Updated at 11:56 pm
Former Creighton resident arrested in connection with 2 Omaha double homicides

A former Creighton University pathology resident has been arrested in connection with the two double homicides with ties to the university's department.

Anthony J. Garcia, 40, was arrested on suspicion of four counts of first-degree murder, Omaha Chief Todd Schmaderer announced this afternoon at a press conference.

Two double homicides in 2008 and 2013 "caused great concern for the Omaha community," Schmaderer said.

"Today I am able to provide a sense of closure."

Schmaderer said law enforcement officials had planned to serve a search warrant at Garcia's house tomorrow in Terre Haute, Ind. But they arrested him today in Illinois after he was pulled over.

He had a .45 caliber handgun in the car and was showing signs of alcohol impairment, according to Schmaderer.

Anthony J. Garcia

Garcia had been a doctoral resident at Creighton until Dr. Roger Brumback and William Hunter fired him.

Police said they think he committed the homicides on his own, but Schmaderer said the investigation is continuing with search warrants being served in other states.

Garcia is accused with the double homicide of Brumback, the former chairman of Creighton University's department of pathology, and his wife, Mary.

They were found dead in their home near 114th and Shirley Streets on May 14.

* * * * *

Video: Omaha Chief Todd Schmaderer press conference
Photo gallery: Double homicide victims
• Timeline: Major events in each case

* * * * *

Garcia was also arrested in connection with the March 2008 killings of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and 57-year-old housekeeper Shirlee Sherman in the Dundee home of the Hunter family.

The Omaha Police special task force had been monitoring Garcia's movements for a period of time, Schmaderer said. Members of the special task force flew out of Omaha on Sunday to various states across the country to serve search warrants related to Garcia. Schmaderer wouldn't name which states. Those investigators were still out of the state Monday.

Garcia was pulled over during a traffic stop by the Illinois State Police Monday morning.

“It is imperative that I do not divulge too much of the evidence law enforcement has on this case because it is ongoing prosecution and I don't want to damage that aspect,” Schmaderer said. Schmaderer said he doesn't think the boy and the housekeeper were the targets.

Thomas Hunter's parents, William and Claire Hunter, are longtime faculty members at Creighton. He works in the pathology department.

William Hunter said his family and others associated with Creighton would rest more easily knowing an arrest had been made.

"Obviously, we're relieved,'' he said. He declined further comment.

Schmaderer said police notified the victim's family and Creighton of the arrest before he announced it to the public.

Brad Waite was starting to doubt that his sister's killer would ever be found.

“You get the feeling that the longer it takes them to sove the case, the harder it's going to be,” he said. “The guy could have stepped in front of a bus and be dead by now.”

Waite's sister, housekeeper Shirlee Sherman, had been vacuuming in the Hunter house and didn't hear her killer come in the door, he said. Waite thinks she was taken by surprise, stabbed and was “dead before she hit the floor.”

Waite said the family was looking forward to moving on, but they're upset that an arrest wasn't made before the Brumbacks were killed.

Monday was the first time Waite, or anyone in the Sherman family, had heard Garcia's name as a potential suspect.

“We're relieved they got the guy,” he said. “We're pretty upset, though, that two more people had to die before they got the job done. That's tragic.”

The Rev. Tim Lannon, president of Creighton University, issued a statement late Monday stating that the university and especially the School of Medicine and Department of Pathology are grateful for the work of the police department and the special task force.

“We continue to keep those affected by these events in our thoughts and prayers. And we continue to pray for all of the special task force members still executing search warrants throughout the country,” Lannon said.

In a statement Monday, Mayor Jean Stothert commended Schmaderer for creating the task force that led to Garcia's arrest in the murders.

"These cases put Omaha neighborhoods and the Creighton Universtiy medical staff on alert for the last five years. Tonight, you can be confident the Omaha Police Department never forgot about this case," Stothert said in the statement.

Schmaderer said Garcia fits "the elements of a serial killer."

"We did not feel this individual would stop unless an arrest was made," Schmaderer said.

Garcia had not lived in Omaha since he was fired in 2001, but police believe he visited in 2008 and this year.

Schmaderer said Garcia was fired for erratic behavior.

"America's Most Wanted" profiled the Hunter and Sherman case last year.

In response to the homicides, Schmaderer announced the formation of a task force in May made up of Omaha police officers and FBI agents that worked with other local law enforcement agencies.

Schmaderer said today that he didn't think Garcia would have been arrested without the task force. In addition, an FBI behavioral analysis unit helped with the investigation.

Schmaderer said he didn't think Garcia knew that he was being investigated.

Schmaderer declined to say whether he believes there were other targets.

Photo gallery: Double homicide victims

The Victims

Timeline: Major events in two double homicides being investigated by task force

March 13, 2008: The bodies of 11-year-old Thomas C. Hunter and the family's house cleaner, Shirlee Sherman, 57, are found at 303 N. 54th St.

March 14, 2008: Police release a sketch of man being sought for questioning in the slayings.

March 16, 2008: Dr. Roger Brumback, a Hunter family friend, tells The World-Herald that the Creighton University medical community is stunned by the slayings. “The biggest interest we have, and what everybody was asking yesterday, is, 'Who could have done this and why?'”

March 19, 2008: Funerals are held for Shirlee Sherman at Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Park and for Thomas Hunter at St. John Catholic Church.

March 20, 2008: Omaha Crime Stoppers offers a $25,000 reward for a tip leading to an arrest.

Early April: The FBI joins the Omaha homicide investigation.

Jan. 21, 2009: A “Law & Order” episode features a fictional crime sharply reminiscent of the Omaha case. Two university biologists come home to find their young son and housekeeper killed. Witnesses describe a mysterious, well-dressed man carrying a briefcase.

February 2009: Omaha Crime Stoppers' reward doubles to $50,000.

June 11, 2010: A bronze sculpture of Thomas Hunter is dedicated outside the Creighton Cardiac Center.

July 2012: Omaha Crime Stoppers' reward increases to $54,000.

Aug. 3, 2012: “America's Most Wanted” airs a segment about the unsolved Omaha case.

May 14, 2013: The bodies of Dr. Roger Brumback and Mary Brumback, both 65, are discovered in their home at 11421 Shirley St.

May 16, 2013: The Omaha police cold-case unit begins investigating any connection between the Brumbacks' deaths and the slayings of Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman.

May 16, 2013: Members of First Responders Homicide Prayer-Walks hold an evening prayer vigil outside the Brumback home.

May 20, 2013: Police Chief Todd Schmaderer announces that a multi-agency task force has begun looking into possible ties between the Brumbacks' deaths and the 2008 killings of Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman.

June 21, 2013: The Douglas County Coroner's Office reports that Dr. Roger Brumback, 65, was shot to death and that Mary Brumback, also 65, died of stab wounds.

July 15, 2013: Schmaderer announces the arrest of Anthony Garcia of Terre Haute, Ind., on four counts of murder in the slayings of Dr. Roger Brumback, Mary Brumback, Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman.

World-Herald researcher Sheritha Jones and staff writer Alissa Skelton contributed to this report.

Video of the press conference


Previous coverage


Double slaying: Piano mover saw unlocked door and gun clip

Omaha police looking for any link between two slaying cases

Investigation of double homicides is casting wide net

From the archives: Boy, housecleaner killed; police beef up Dundee patrols but think it's 'isolated incident'

From the archives: Victims' friends, family stunned; no motive in slayings

Stay with Omaha.com for updates to this developing story.

Contact the writer: Roseann Moring

roseann.moring@owh.com    |   402-444-1084    |  

Roseann covers Bellevue and Sarpy County crime.

Attorney: Man accused of trying to open plane's door needs psychiatric evaluation
49-year-old sentenced to 40-50 years for attempted sex assault of child
Brothers looking for pot sentenced for violent home invasion
At Boys Town panel, experts stress it's never too early to educate children
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Gov. Heineman calls 2014 a 'very good year for Nebraska taxpayers'
Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Arrest made in teen's shooting death at Benson's Gallagher Park
Section of 50th Street to close for bridge demolition
Nikko Jenkins found guilty of 4 murders
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
Plans for new $16M YMCA in Council Bluffs at 'critical juncture'
Woodmen request would take nearly $40M in valuation from tax rolls
With fixed AC, Fort Calhoun's nuclear station ends brief shutdown
Windy day could make driving difficult on east-west roads
Richard Brown steps down as Charles Drew Health Center CEO
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
OPD safety expo set for April 26
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Crew working to disassemble International Nutrition plant
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
18-year-old arrested in stolen-car case
U.S. Senate candidate Bart McLeay trails his 3 GOP rivals in fundraising
86-year-old Holdrege man killed in weekend collision
New police gang intervention specialist knows firsthand about getting involved with wrong crowd
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Jessica Lutton Bedient was killed by a drunken driver at age 26 in 2010. Thursday, the widowed husband and other family members will gather with others at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to dedicate a permanent memorial to Jessica.
Breaking Brad: How much would you pay for a corn dog?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new concession item: a $25 corn dog. For that kind of money, it should be stuffed with Bitcoin.
Breaking Brad: Pothole repair crew gets stuck in a pothole
In East Lansing, Mich., a pothole repair crew got stuck inside a pothole. How did this not happen in Omaha?
Breaking Brad: What do the moon, Colorado senators have in common?
How about that "blood red" moon Monday? It was as red as the eyes of a Colorado legislator.
Breaking Brad: Hey, Republicans, are you ready to be audited?
A quick list of audit red flags: 3) You fail to sign your return. 2) You fail to report income. 1) You are a registered Republican.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »