Teen suspect in Saginaw girl’s slaying expected to make “slow recovery”

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The 17-year-old suspect in the slaying of Alanna Gallagher is likely months away from being released from the hospital as he recovers from a gunshot in the head, Saginaw police said Tuesday.

Police spokesman Damon Ing said Tyler Holder continued to receive breathing assistance after a tracheotomy and cannot speak to investigators. Though Holder is expected to recover from his injury, Ing said it is going to be a “slow recovery.”

“I’ll be surprised if he’s out before three months,” Ing said. “I would be ecstatic if that happened. That would be a miraculous recovery.”

On Monday, the Arlington detective who was been shot while participating in Holder’s arrest was released from the hospital.

“We have some great news. … Officer Charles Lodatto is released from the hospital and is back home,” the department said on its Facebook page. “His friends, neighbors, and family lined the streets with posters and signs as he drove into the neighborhood!”

Lodatto was assigned to the Safe Street FBI Task Force, one of several groups investigating Alanna’s death.

The girl was found slain, concealed in a trash back and wrapped in a tarp on a residential less than a mile from her home the evening of July 1. She was last seen playing outside her house that afternoon.

Holder, who lived a couple houses down from Alanna, was linked to the crime through DNA found on the girl’s body and on the buckle of a belt that encircled the tarp, according to court documents.

The morning of July 23, Lodatto and other investigators went to Holder’s home. Holder declined to speak with them, then pulled out a handgun after being told he was under arrest, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

FBI agent Andy Farrell pushed Holder inside the house and was struggling for the gun it went off, striking Lodatto in the groin, the affidavit says.

Saginaw Detective Robert Richardson returned fire, hitting Holder in the head, it says.

Lodatto was treated at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

Holder remains under guard in serious condition at John Peter Smith Hospital. He has been formally charged with attempted capital murder in the shooting of Lodatto and faces a capital murder charge in connection with Alanna’s sexual assault and suffocation.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, the teen’s biological father, Glenn Geisen, said he learned he had a son in 2009 when he was served with court documents informing him that Kimberly Holder was seeking child support for the teen.

Geisen said that he had had a brief relationship with Kimberly Holder while both lived in Boyd as teenagers but that she’d never told him she was pregnant with his child.

After learning that paternity tests confirmed he was Holder’s father, Geisen said he tried unsuccessfully to meet the boy.

“I’ve tired to contact them, get ahold of them, and nobody was helping me out with anything,” said Geisen, who lives in Montana. “I’ve tried getting ahold of the child support office. They don’t give me any information. All they gave me on the paper was when he was born and his birthday and such.”

Geisen said he is continuing to pay back child support for his son but after hearing of Holder’s charges, is no longer interested in meeting him.

“If those accusations are true, I don’t even want to acknowledge that he is my son,” Geisen said.

Neighbor says search uncovered stolen property

Ing said investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized from Holder’s home and car. He said police have found nothing pointing to an accomplice in the slaying although the investigation is continuing.

Ryan Costello, who lives on the same street as Holder and Alanna, said he had suspected that Holder rifled through his wife’s car in the days before Alanna was slain.

“We reported it but we had no evidence to who it was,” Costello said. “But there were other neighbors who had run-ins with him in the past.”

He said those suspicions were confirmed after police searched Holder’s house and found some of Costello’s possessions inside, including the registration to his wife’s car.

“We only thought he stole the navigation card,” Costello said. “Come to find out, what we didn’t know, is he also took a spare key to my truck.”

Costello said that nothing indicates Holder ever accessed his pickup and that security surveillance systems reviewed by police apparently showed that the truck never left the driveway after Costello came home from work July 1.

Costello said police reportedly found other people’s belongings as well.

“If they know who they belong to, I don’t know, but he had a slew of stuff,” Costello said.

Ing would not comment on Costello’s assertions or on whether investigators suspect that items seized from Holder’s home could be stolen. He said police are cross-referencing seized items with property reported stolen.

“We really can’t identify stolen property if we don’t know if it’s stolen in the first place,” Ing said.

Costello said he’d seen Holder around the neighborhood for years but had never talked to him.

“I guess you could say we saw him grow up. He went from looking like a normal 12-year-old to growing into a kind of a gothic-looking guy,” Costello said. “You could tell something was going on.”

Costello said he and his wife “were not too thrilled” on discovering that his name and address were on a search warrant inventory of items that police seized from Holder’s home. As a result, Costello said, some have mistakenly assumed he was involved.

“When I first found out, I looked it up on the Internet,” he said. “I guess they have talk forums and people are running all these theories [about me] on forums. That’s a pretty unsettling feeling.”

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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