Suspect appeared to blame firing from Creighton for his struggles - Omaha.com
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 7:16 am
Suspect appeared to blame firing from Creighton for his struggles

Anthony J. Garcia III tried to be a good neighbor, but the mild-mannered doctor who is now accused of four grisly revenge slayings in Omaha was dubbed “weird” by his neighbors who said he had some odd habits.

He also came and went at “strange hours” of the day and night, and never appeared to entertain visitors at his three-bedroom home in a middle-class neighborhood in Terre Haute, Ind.

“The whole time that he lived in this area, he never, ever put any trash out — never,” said a neighbor, who lived in the same cul-de-sac as Garcia and awoke Monday to a flood of police vehicles swarming the neighborhood.

Omaha police announced Monday that they had arrested Garcia in the May deaths of Dr. Roger Brumback of the Creighton University Medical Center staff and his wife, Mary, along with the 2008 killings of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and his family's house cleaner, Shirlee Sherman.

Garcia apparently spent the past 15 years bouncing around the country, struggling to find a job. He lived in at least six places since leaving Omaha in 2001, according to online records.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Roger Brumback and Thomas' father, William Hunter, had fired Garcia because of what police called erratic behavior when he was a pathology resident in 2001.

A partial picture of Garcia's history since then shows a man who roamed from place to place and blamed his lack of professional success on members of the Creighton pathology department.

Omaha police say they're serving search warrants in several other states where he lived. Schmaderer said Garcia fits the profile of a serial killer.

It is not known where Garcia grew up, but it appears that he has many relatives living in the wealthy California community of Walnut. It is also known he received his Social Security card when he was a teenager living in California.

Garcia bought his house in Terre Haute last year for $120,000, according to property records. Shortly after he moved into his home, he distributed bottles of wine to his neighbors on his cul-de-sac as a goodwill gesture. It was one of the few times, two neighbors said, that he attempted to interact with any neighbors.

He mostly kept to himself. Although, when he did talk, he was very “mild,” said Benjamin Fairhurst.

“He was a very strange individual, in my opinion. He came and went at strange hours,” he said.

Although he bought the house in Terre Haute, he couldn't actually practice medicine in that state. The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana twice denied his application to practice or allowed him to withdraw his application, according to minutes from the board's meetings. The minutes did not say why he was denied.

However, shortly after he moved into the neighborhood, he told Fairhurst that he worked as a prison doctor in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute. Months later, he told Fairhurst that he was practicing medicine in Chicago.

An Anthony J. Garcia did practice medicine at two clinics in Chicago, about three hours' drive from Terre Haute, according to healthgrades.com.

It's not clear where Garcia completed his residency, or when he switched focus areas from pathology to family practice.

The University of Utah says on its website that an Anthony Joseph Garcia graduated from its medical school in 1999 with a specialty in family practice.

He was supposed to go on to Bassett-St. Elizabeth Hospital Family Practice Program in Utica, N.Y., according to the site. But the next year, 2000, Garcia arrived in Omaha to study pathology at Creighton. Schmaderer said Garcia lived alone while in Omaha.

He was fired a year later.

After that, he spent time in Shreveport, La., and Walnut, according to online records and a law enforcement official who asked not to be named. He filed for bankruptcy in California in 2005.

Indiana first denied him a license to practice medicine in 2009 and then again in 2012.

He got frustrated because he was turned down for jobs and apparently blamed Creighton, the law enforcement source said.

Attempts to reach Garcia's family were unsuccessful.

Garcia was arrested Monday in southern Illinois, officials said. In the meantime, state and federal officials descended on the Terre Haute house.

Witnesses said that authorities, including the FBI, were seen removing items from the home.

World-Herald staff writers Robynn Tysver, Maggie O'Brien, Todd Cooper and Alissa Skelton contributed to this report, as did Arthur Foulkes of the Terre Haute Tribune Star.

Contact the writer: Roseann Moring

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

Roseann covers Bellevue and Sarpy County crime.

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