A Newton man confronted a woman accused of stealing from him. Now he's dead

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NEWTON — A local woman is being held without bail after authorities say she killed a 65-year-old man sometime after he confronted her over stealing thousands of dollars from his bank account, authorities said Wednesday.

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, is accused of killing Leonard Garber in his 6 Mount Vernon Terrace home, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced during a midday press conference at the Newton Police Department.

Judge Mary Elizabeth Heffernan ordered Ke held without bail during the suspect's arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Newton District Court. Ke is due back in court on Oct. 31 for a probable cause hearing.

Ke's lawyer, Jeffrey Miller, declined to comment when reached at his office.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said there was a "concerted effort" to hide the body of a Newton man who was recently slain.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said there was a "concerted effort" to hide the body of a Newton man who was recently slain.

Garber's body was discovered at 3 p.m. Tuesday, although authorities say it appears he had been dead for more than 24 hours. The state medical examiner is conducting an autopsy but preliminary indications are that the cause of death is blunt force trauma, Ryan said.

More: Framingham woman dies of stab wounds. What to know about the city's first homicide of 2022

What police discovered on Mount Vernon Terrace

The investigation initially began as a missing persons report on Monday evening, Ryan said. Family and friends contacted Newton police after not hearing from Garber since last week, which was unusual.

Police visited Garber's home on Monday night and again on Tuesday morning, but did not locate him. On Tuesday afternoon, they discovered his body wrapped in a curtain underneath construction material and other heavy items in the front hallway of the home, Ryan said.

There was a "concerted effort" to hide Garber's body, Ryan said.

What Newton police are investigating

Investigators from the District Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts State Police and Newton Police Department began an investigation. They reviewed security video from Garber's home and saw Ke entering it several times in recent days.

Ke is a former tenant of Garber's at another property; they had become friends, Ryan said.

More: Competency results sought for Christopher McKoy, charged in 2019 Framingham slaying

The investigation revealed that Ke was forging checks from Garber's bank account and had stolen $40,000. Authorities say Garber discovered the theft last week and confronted Ke about it on Friday or Saturday.

Police arrested Ke on Wednesday at the Newton Police Department. She is charged with murder.

Newton Police Chief John Carmichael, during Wednesday's press conference, praised the teamwork of all officers and dispatchers involved in the investigation.

"I'm proud of the outcome of the investigation," he said. "Everyone worked very hard over the past 72, 48 hours."

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller expressed sorrow to those who knew Garber.

"I personally express my condolences, and I speak for the people of Newton when I say my hearts and prayers here," she said during the press conference.

Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or nmiller@wickedlocal.com. For up-to-date public safety news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.

This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Newton police charge woman with killing, stealing from Leonard Garber