Suspect in cold case former Eastwood HS teacher


POSTED: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 11:12pm

UPDATED: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 5:25pm

It was case closed after a slew of dead-end leads in the murder investigation of Major Chester Garrett left El Paso investigators empty-handed.

Garrett was a highly decorated officer at Fort Bliss and died from blunt force trauma to the head and multiple stab wounds. His body was found in an El Paso desert.

Then, 7 years ago, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office decided to reopen a case more than 30 years old.

"In 2006, Sheriff's office was contacted by family members of the victim, Major Garrett to review the case and continue the investigation. They were looking for some sort of justice in reference to the death of their brother," says Sergeant Jim Belknap of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

This week, Sheriffs arrested Major Garrett's widow, 74 year old Lisbeth Garrett in El Paso, and his stepson, Roger Garrett, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

"He had no idea that that's why he was here. He was under the impression that he was here for another reason and it was quite a surprise to him when the El Paso investigators walked in to talk to him about the homicide," said a Knoxville, Tennessee investigator.

Lisbeth Garrett was a Speech teacher at Eastwood High School in El Paso for more than 20 years. One of her former students paints a different picture of the alleged murderer.

"She was very kind. Very helpful. Her and I got along really well. She was an outgoing person. She spoke very well, as she was a communications teacher. She was a really good teacher, she taught very well, she was very fair to her students," says Selina Ahumada.

But Selina, as well as a former colleague of Lisbeth's, both say Lisbeth never spoke of her husband.

"She never mentioned anything about her marriage, other than her son and her dog that she would say she would go home to. I'm going home to my dog," says Selina.

"I don't think any of us really knew much about her home life. Mostly she and I would talk about our health problems, we'd commiserate on those types of topics but I don't think I ever heard anything about a family," says Gina Warswick.

According to Gina, Lisbeth suffered from health problems that made it difficult for her to move from one place to another -- which is why she can't believe Lisbeth is a suspect in her husband's murder.

"It was just shocking to hear that this woman who was tiny and frail could at some point have been strong enough to take down a green beret? I just found it incredible to think of," says Warswick.

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Who says she was the person who delivered the blows? They have arrested her son as well. The two of them together could have managed it. Particularly since the blows and wounds were from behind. Whoever did it was a coward.

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