The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 31, 2012

Husband charged with murder

Arrest made in shooting death of pregnant woman near Agency

OTTUMWA — The husband of a reserve deputy sheriff has been arrested for her murder as well as the death of her unborn child.

“A suspect is in custody in connection with the death of Lisa Techel,” Sheriff Don Kirkendall said Wednesday night. “It’s her husband ... Seth Techel.”

A release from Chief Deputy Mark Miller later said that Seth Techel, 21, of 8723 Fox Hills Road, Agency, was charged with murder in the first degree and non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy.

Why authorities waited to make the arrest, what the possible motive was and other details will have to wait, the sheriff told the Courier. A press conference is scheduled for this afternoon, he said.

What is clear is that the shooting, which occurred Saturday in rural Agency, struck close to home for local law enforcement officials.

The suspect, Seth Techel, was recently hired by the Wapello County Sheriff’s Department as a correctional officer for the Wapello County Jail. Lisa Techel was a reserve deputy sheriff with Wapello County and had served as a correctional officer in Washington County. Her father is a deputy sheriff for Wapello County, while her uncle is an emergency dispatcher for the sheriff’s department.

Agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrived the day of the shooting. Kirkendall did not indicate whether DCI’s involvement was to provide further objectivity in the case, though it’s not unusual to call in state investigators for a shooting death.

During the investigation, two officers did say this case was particularly tough, as they knew and admired Lisa.

Otherwise, however, the office was extremely cautious in releasing details. The shooting occurred Saturday morning, but there was no word whether authorities even suspected anyone in the death until Wednesday evening — four days later.

Miller had been willing to say early on that the public was not in danger in regards to the case.

The Techel home is located in a quiet, country setting in Wapello County southwest of Agency. Houses are far apart, and farms, trees and gravel roads lead in and out of the area, which is close to Lake Arrowhead.

Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison. Nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy is a class B felony and carries a penalty of 25 years in prison.

After being arraigned on the charges, Seth Techel will be transferred to a neighboring county’s jail.

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