Inquiry into girl’s slaying is ‘far from being done’

Posted Friday, Jul. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The violent arrest of a Saginaw teenager Tuesday was a major breakthrough in the search for the killer of 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher, authorities say, but the case is far from over.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether Tyler Lane Holder, 17, had an accomplice, officer Damon Ing, a Saginaw police spokesman, said Friday evening.

“I’ll put it this way: We’re far from being done,” Ing said. “I can tell you we’re actively investigating that right now, but, as far as knowing if someone helped him, we just don’t know right now.”

Investigators believe that Holder, a neighbor of Alanna’s family in the 600 block of Babbling Brook Drive, sexually assaulted and suffocated the girl July 1, wrapped her body in a tarp and discarded it on a street less than a mile away.

He was linked to the crime by DNA found on her body and on a belt buckle wrapped around the tarp, authorities have said.

Holder was shot in the head as officers tried to arrest him Tuesday morning at his home. Arlington police Detective Charles Lodatto was wounded.

Homes in the area have video surveillance systems, which investigators have reviewed.

They believe that the car Holder had access to, a green 2012 Kia Soul, did not leave the driveway of the house where he lives with his mother.

“We’re now going into the next step of finding out how he got her from point A to point B — which is where she was found,” Ing said.

Investigators are combing through mounds of evidence seized this week from the home. The items were described in search warrant affidavits released Friday.

One affidavit describes a cellphone that investigators believe “contains evidence of Capital Murder, to include text messages and/or photographs, call records and any other criminal activity” related to Holder.

Another item was described as a sealed letter “addressed to mom with I love you, I’m sorry,” according to the evidence inventory list attached to an affidavit.

Ing said he did not know whether officers have opened the letter.

Also seized was a “purple/pink green Timex Indiglo watch with purple band and pink and green flowers.”

Investigators are trying to determine whether Alanna owned such a watch, Ing said. He noted that it was clearly a girl’s watch, not something a 17-year-old boy or a woman would wear.

Police also recovered condoms, including one “used,” duct tape and rolls of toilet paper, according to the inventory.

Holder was in serious condition Friday at John Peter Smith Hospital, Ing said.

Lodatto remained in Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. He was in good condition, said Tiara Ellis Richard, an Arlington police spokeswoman.

Holder faces a capital murder charge in Alanna’s death. He faces an attempted capital murder charge in the shooting of Lodatto.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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