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Testimony: Evidence in trash indicated Fort Worth woman dead

FORT WORTH -- Glenda Gail Furch was a creature of habit.

She had attended the same church most of her life. She had worked the same job and lived in the same apartment complex for 20-plus years. She talked to her daughter, Latisha Furch, almost daily, and she always had Sunday dinner with her daughter and her grandson, Corey.

So when Latisha Furch couldn't reach her mother for more than three days last fall, she drove to her mother's Woodhaven apartment. What she found there concerned her so much that she called Fort Worth police.

Police sensed that Furch's disappearance was more than a missing persons case.

"The apartment was chillingly clean. Something was odd," crime scene officer Ernest Pate testified Tuesday in the murder trial of Rodney Owens, accused in the Sept. 28, 2007, death of Furch, 51.

Although Furch has not been seen since she left her job at the Arlington General Motors plant just after midnight, the evidence that police found in the large metal trash bin at Furch's apartment, 200 feet from her door, convinced police that she had met with foul play.

Owens was arrested about a month after Furch disappeared from a thumbprint found on duct tape taken from the trash bin outside her apartment.

Latisha Furch and four Fort Worth police officers testified Tuesday about four trash bags filled with items from Furch's apartment. They also testified about what they found -- and didn't find -- inside her apartment.

Although Latisha Furch said her mother was a neat housekeeper, she found something odd about the large stain beside her mother's bed that looked and smelled like bleach. She also noted some missing items, some of which crime-scene officers found in the trash bin.

Among the items found in the trash bin were numerous cleaning products that officers believe were used to clean the crime scene, duct tape and electrical cords they believe were used to bind Furch, and several clothing items including a bra and shirt that officers testified appeared to have been cut or torn.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Mark Rosteet suggested that the bags of trash were just that -- trash not connected to the victim or her murder.

But Latisha Furch identified the clothing items, a necklace and other items taken from the trash bags as belonging to her mother. She also disputed Rosteet's suggestion that her mother had a boyfriend or that someone else might have harmed her.

Even without a body, Latisha Furch told prosecutor Rainey Webb that she didn't believe her mother was still alive.

"No, I'm sure she's dead,” the 30-year-old woman said, burying her head in her hands.

Webb and lead prosecutor Bob Gill were to continue calling witnesses Tuesday in the 371st District Court.