Car fire investigated at home of slain Saginaw girl

Posted Friday, Jul. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
How to help Anyone with information about the case of Alanna Gallagher should call 682-888-3682 or 682-888-3684. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers.

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About 2 a.m. Friday, Laura Gallagher was awakened by someone banging on her front door.

It was a neighbor, yelling that a car in their driveway was on fire.

“If it had been much longer, the house would have been on fire with us in it,” said Gallagher, who was at home with her husband, Karl Gallagher, and Miles McDaniel, another man who lives with them. “We are very grateful to our neighbors.”

Gallagher is the mother of Alanna Gallagher, the 6-year-old girl whose lifeless body was found under a tarp less than a mile from their modest Saginaw home earlier this month.

No one has been arrested. The death is being investigated by Saginaw police, FBI agents, Texas Rangers and other law enforcement agencies.

Investigators are treating the fire in the Gallagher’s Ford Taurus as arson, said officer Damon Ing, a Saginaw police spokesman. Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting.

In addition, a makeshift memorial of stuffed animals just down the street burned overnight. Investigators have not determined whether that fire was intentionally set, Ing said.

Gallagher said her two other children were staying with relatives and were not at home at the time of the fire.

“I don’t know if this is related to what happened to our daughter or if this is someone just deciding to react to the publicity in this way. I have no idea,” Gallagher said Friday morning. “I don't really understand the kind of people that can do this kind of thing. I don't understand the idea that anyone could have even hurt Alanna.

“We had a beautiful, idyllic life and we’re very happy here and this is the scariest and worst thing that has ever happened to any one of us.”

Fire crews were called to the house in the 600 block of Babbling Brook Drive at 2:16 a.m. Friday, Ing said.

Later Friday, after the Taurus had been towed away, scorch marks could be seen on the driveway.

Gallagher said her family was “frightened and tense.” By mid-morning, she was arranging to install a security system at the house. She said they don’t want to move.

“There had been such a feeling that we were living in a safe area and you never expect anything like this, so we’re very shaken,” she said. “As scary as this has been, we are just discovering how many true friends we have.

“I really don’t want to have to run away from all the good things, all the good people and all the good memories of this home.”

Alanna had been playing outside on the afternoon of July 1 when she disappeared. Her partially nude body was found that evening in a black trash bag wrapped with tape and placed beneath a tarp at Roundrock Drive and Cindy Lane.

Gallagher declined to comment about the investigation, but she did address a FBI report that investigators seized “red tape, white tape, camo tape, black electical tape” from inside the Taurus.

Gallagher said her husband is in the Texas State Guard and kept supplies needed to help set up public shelters during emergencies or bad weather in his car.

Alanna was a kindergartner at Willow Creek Elementary School in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw district.

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326 Twitter: @jessamybrown

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600 block of Babbling Brook Drive, Saginaw, TX
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