Parents of Slain Saginaw 6-Year-Old Describe Suspect as “Monster”

Victim's mother: "Nobody thinks you're down the street from someone developing into a monster"

The parents of murdered 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher, whose body was found wrapped in a tarp on a North Texas street, are speaking out to the media, describing the main suspect in the case as a "monster."

Tyler Holder, 17, has been charged with capital murder in the child's death. Gallagher, who lived two houses away from Holder, was missing for about five hours when her body was discovered about a mile from her suburban Fort Worth home on July 1.

Holder is suspected of sexually assaulting and suffocating his neighbor and also faces charges in the shooting of a police officer who tried to arrest him.

Holder allegedly fired on officers at his home Tuesday morning when a multi-agency major crimes task force attempted to serve arrest and search warrants, seriously wounding a veteran Arlington officer.

Gallagher's Parents Describe a "Monster"

Alanna Gallagher's mother, Laura, spoke to NBC DFW on Wednesday night for the first time since Holder's arrest.

"Nobody thinks you're down the street from someone developing into a monster," she said. "There's not just our kids, but so many other kids we'd see out playing. And you think of all the times that all these kids were walking past that house, and you feel like it was a time bomb slowly building that we didn't know about, and it went off on our baby."

She told NBC DFW that she had not read the affidavit because it is too graphic.

Karl Gallagher described his fears of a possible accomplice to the killing still in the area.

"If there's a monster like that somewhere in the county, then we were just very unlucky to end up next door to them. If there's two monsters like that in this area, that scares me a lot," he said.

Karl Gallagher said he called police a couple of years ago because Holder was vandalizing one of their vehicles.

Alanna Gallagher's grandmother said earlier Wednesday that the last 24 hours have been difficult for family members who read graphic details about her death in the arrest warrant.

"They're still trying to grieve for their baby; we all are," Linda McDaniel said by phone.

"They appreciate all the support their friends have given them and even people they don’t know that was offering their support for them and kind words," she said.

Gallagher's family donated blood to help the officer who injured in the shootout with Holder on Tuesday, she said.

Holder's Relatives Respond

Holder's mother, Kimberly, lives at the home her son but was not there Tuesday morning, police said. She referred calls to her attorneys.

"Mrs. Holder is in shock and is extremely worried about the condition of her son, as any mother would be," said her attorney, Lance T. Evans. "I ask that the Holder family's request for privacy be honored as they come to grips with yesterday's events."

A distant relative of Holder's told NBC DFW by phone Wednesday that she was shocked to hear about the murder allegations. She described Holder as a wild child when he was young but said she can't believe "the monster" he has become.

Suspect, Officer Remain in Hospital

Veteran Arlington officer Charles Lodatto, who is hospitalized in Fort Worth, is expected to recover. Doctors said officers and emergency personnel saved his life by stopping the bleeding at the scene after Lodatto was shot and the bullet severed his femoral artery and lodged in his hip. Lodatto, who was Arlington's 2012 detective of the year, will need more surgery but is expected to recover.

An update on Thursday morning said Lodatto's condition had improved and he was able to be taken out of the intensive care unit.

Holder was also injured in the shootout and remains hospitalized at John Peter Smith Hospital under police guard. His bond is set at $500,000. Officials have declined to release Holder's condition.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lodatto, an FBI agent, and a Saginaw police detective went to Holder's house Tuesday, two doors down from the home of 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher.

FBI Special Agent Andy Farrell knocked on the front door, announced themselves as police, and came face-to-face with Holder.

The FBI agent asked to speak the teen but was refused. When Farrell then told him he was under arrest, "Holder reached behind him and produced a handgun." Farrell grabbed for Holder and the gun and a struggle began. Holder shot Lodatto in the groin, and then Saginaw police Detective Robert Richardson shot Holder in the head, according to the affidavit.

"Far From Being Done With This Investigation"

Police and FBI investigators combed through Holder's home Wednesday and removed items.

There are still many questions in the case; specifically, questions about other vehicles police were seeking, including a sedan seen in surveillance footage and a red pickup truck.

"We're still looking for information on those," Saginaw police spokesman Damon Ing said. "[They are] not necessarily involved but could've been witnesses."

Law enforcement sources told NBC DFW on Tuesday that investigators are actively looking for a possible second person in connection with the case. Surveillance video shows that Holder's pickup truck never left his house the day Gallagher disappeared.

But Ing said it was premature to talk about the possibility of a second suspect in Gallagher's death.

"It's premature to talk about a second arrest or anything like that, but I can tell you, we are far from being done with this investigation," he said.

Investigators first interviewed Holder on July 1, the day Gallagher was killed. The FBI then interviewed him on July 5 and agreed to provide a DNA sample. On Saturday, Holder's DNA sample matched DNA found on the victim.

The arrest warrant was issued Tuesday.

Multiple reporters and editors from NBC 5, as well as writers from the Associated Press contributed to this on-going, collaborative story.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us