Warrant: Teen involved in shootout accused of raping, suffocating Saginaw girl

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 11:29 AM

Alanna Gallagher's body found

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An arrest warrant issued by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office alleges that the teen who shot and wounded a police officer Tuesday sexually assaulted and suffocated six-year-old Alanna Gallagher, the Saginaw girl whose body was found dumped on a residential street earlier this month. 

The capital murder warrant lays out the case that investigators built against 17-year-old Tyler Holder in the three weeks since Gallagher’s body was found bound and gagged and stuffed inside a tarp in the 1000 block of Roundrock Drive on July 1. 

When authorities served the warrant at his home at 649 Babbling Brook Dr. on Tuesday, police say Holder shot at police officers in his doorway. One of the bullets hit 21-year veteran Arlington Det. Charles Lodatto in his groin. Holder was shot in the head and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital. Officials have not revealed his condition. 

Lodatto underwent surgery and is in serious condition at Harris Methodist Hospital. Doctors say a tourniquet applied at the scene likely saved his life. 

The case against Holder began weeks before the shooting.  

The warrant reveals that he began exhibiting bizarre behavior nearly immediately after the girl’s body was found. As investigators canvassed the neighborhood on July 1, officers spotted Holder “pacing up and down the sidewalk.” 

The warrant says residents informed officers that Holder told them that the body found was Alanna Gallagher, a fact that “had not been revealed yet.” The medical examiner identified the girl on July 3, two days after she was found. 

Police interviewed neighbors on Babbling Brook Drive in the days following the girl’s death. Many, the warrant says, referred to Holder as a “trouble maker who had been involved in criminal mischief in the neighborhood.” 

Neighbor Megan Perez said she saw a gray tarp in the backyard of Holder’s home two to three months prior. Gallagher’s body was found inside a silver tarp. When police peeked into the backyard of the home where Holder lived with his mother, they found a pile of wood stashed in its north end but no tarp. 

“They wanted to know about a tarp in Tyler’s backyard,” Perez told News 8’s Todd Unger. “I hadn’t seen it in a couple weeks.” 

On July 2, as FBI agents served a search warrant at the home of Gallagher’s parents, Holder stood across the street “watching the house,” the warrant says. Upon seeing this, Tarrant County DA investigators approached him and took him to the Saginaw Police Department, where a Euless investigator was waiting to interview him.  

On the day Gallagher was found, Holder said he woke up at 2 p.m. and watched television. He couldn’t recall the shows. He also said he went out looking for jobs –– he’d recently been fired from a nearby Sonic, the warrant says. Surveillance footage captured by systems installed at properties at the south and north end of the block show that Holder's car never moved that day, the warrant says. 

His alibi also appears to contradict what Holder allegedly told a neighbor in the hours after the body was found. According to the warrant, Holder told a neighbor that he was fishing all day. Holder gave consent for investigators to search his phone, which contained sexually explicit images but no photos of Gallagher. 

On July 1, Gallagher’s parents let her go play with a neighbor at about 2:30 p.m. At 7:19 p.m., two teenagers found her body in the tarp. At 9:18 p.m., mother Laura Gallagher flagged down an officer to report her daughter missing. Soon thereafter, investigators matched the body with a photo of Alanna, the warrant says. 

There were four clear Walmart bags taped over Gallagher’s head with red duct tape, which also bound her wrists and ankles. Police found a partially used roll of duct tape and a roll of toilet paper with her body. The six-year-old had been placed in a black plastic trash bag with a yellow drawstring. The bag and its contents were then left inside a tarp. 

On July 5, an FBI special agent visited Holder’s home and took a DNA sample. Investigators also took four trash bags from outside Holder’s home. The warrant says the bags appeared to be the same Gallagher was found in. Police also found red colored duct tape in the trash, which “appears to be the same type duct tape that was recovered at the crime scene where the victim’s body was recovered.” 

On July 20, investigators learned that Holder’s DNA matched a sample taken from Gallagher’s body. The medical examiner had already ruled that the girl was sexually assaulted before she was killed and pulled DNA evidence from that act.

The warrant accuses Holder of capital murder by “placing plastic bags over her head and using tape to tape the bags around her neck, suffocating her.” 

News 8's Todd Unger contributed to this report

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