Police link Indiana doctor with Omaha killings

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 18, 2013 7:02 PM
Police link Indiana doctor with Omaha killings

By Katie Schubert

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Credit card charges, store surveillance video and possibly parts of a handgun all help connect a man described by police as fitting a serial killer's profile to the murders in May of an Omaha doctor and his wife, a police affidavit showed on Thursday.

Dr. Anthony J. Garcia, 40, has been charged with those killings and two 2008 murders that police have said were acts of revenge against two Creighton University doctors who fired him from a pathology residency in 2001 for unprofessional conduct.

Garcia, who lives in Indiana, was arrested on Monday in Illinois. His attorneys have told the Omaha World-Herald newspaper that he wanted to move forward to prove his innocence.

He is accused of killing Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary Brumback, both 65, who were found dead on May 14, each with stab wounds to the side of their necks and Dr. Brumback was also shot, the affidavit said.

Police said those stab wounds were similar to ones found in the 2008 murders of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter, the son of another Creighton doctor, and the family housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, 57, the affidavit said.

Garcia was fired in 2001 by Dr. Brumback and Dr. William Hunter, and police have said they do not believe Hunter's son or housekeeper were intended targets.

Witnesses in 2008 reported seeing an SUV similar to one registered to Garcia at that time and a person of similar build near the Hunter home, the affidavit said.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said on Monday that Garcia "fit the elements of a serial killer" and police had evidence he had been in Nebraska at the time of the murders, though he had not lived in Omaha since 2001.


The affidavit released on Thursday offered some links that could place Garcia near the vicinity of the Brumback house around the time that couple was thought to have been killed.

The couple had last been heard from on the afternoon of May 12 when they chatted by web video with their daughter, the affidavit said. They were found dead two days later in the same clothes they had worn during the Mother's Day chat.

About an hour before the chat, Garcia made a credit card charge and could be seen on video at a convenience store in Iowa, about 30 minutes from their house, the affidavit said.

Garcia's credit card was also used that afternoon at an Omaha restaurant about four miles from the Brumback house, it said.

His cell phone received a call that evening in Atlantic, Iowa, about an hour east of Omaha, and Garcia checked into a motel in West Des Moines less than two hours later, the affidavit said.

It also said Garcia had purchased a Smith & Wesson 9mm semiautomatic handgun in March that was consistent with a magazine and two recoil springs police later recovered from the Brumback house in May.

According to the affidavit and records obtained by Reuters, Garcia had applied for Indiana medical licenses in 2008 and in 2012. Records released by the Indiana medical board from those applications show he failed to complete residencies in New York, Illinois and Louisiana in addition to Nebraska.

He was suspended from a New York residency for yelling at a radiology technician, then withdrew from the program in 1999. He also withdrew from an Illinois residency because of migraine headaches and was "essentially fired" from a residency in Louisiana, where he was refused a state medical license.

Garcia's application for a Louisiana medical license was rejected in February 2008, two weeks before Hunter and Sherman were killed, in part because he had not completed the other residency programs.

(Additional reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Toni Reinhold)