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Police: Husband strangled missing N.Y. teacher

The husband of a special education teacher who failed to show up for work has confessed to choking her and dumping her body in the woods, police said Thursday.
Teacher Killed
William Walsh, seen in police custody on Thursday, has made written and verbal confessions, police say.Ed Betz / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man confessed to strangling his wife during a fight over his alleged cheating, dumping her body near a highway and then making it appear as if she had been a victim of random roadside violence, police said Thursday.

William Walsh, 29, is accused of strangling his wife, Leah, during a fight in their Long Island home after he returned from a trip to Atlantic City last weekend. He was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to a second-degree murder charge Thursday.

Walsh’s attorney insisted at his client’s arraignment that police made a “rush to judgment.”

But the chief of the Nassau County homicide squad says Walsh has given verbal and written confessions admitting to the crime.

The mystery began Monday morning when Leah Walsh, 29, failed to arrive for her job as a special education teacher and her abandoned car was found on the side of the road. Suspicion quickly fell on the husband, who made two days of tearful appeals to the media in asking for help in finding his wife.

Fight over alleged infidelity?
Homicide detectives believe he killed his wife Sunday after returning from a trip to Atlantic City. Lt. John Azzata, commander of the Nassau County homicide squad, said the couple fought over William Walsh’s alleged infidelity, eventually choking her to death as the dispute escalated.

With his wife dead inside their Bethpage apartment, Walsh then went about his business on Sunday, doing laundry at a nearby coin laundry and eating at a McDonald’s. After darkness on Sunday, Walsh loaded his wife’s body into her car and dumped her remains in an embankment, 50 feet off the Long Island Expressway, police said.

He apparently took the air out of the right front tire, making it appear that the vehicle had broken down, police said. Walsh then walked home, but returned to the side of the highway in a second vehicle, and threw his wife’s purse into a nearby ditch.

Witness saw him at scene
He was seen leaving the scene by a driver in a state Transportation Department vehicle.

On Wednesday morning, a motorist reported seeing the body. Walsh was arrested a short time later and admitted to the crime after several hours of questioning, police said.

Ellenmorris Tiegerman, the founder and executive director of the school where Leah worked, said in a statement Thursday that Leah Walsh was an “extraordinary” teacher who “loved her students and ... was extremely dedicated to their families.”