Crime

Newton man allegedly beaten to death by former tenant who had been forging checks in his name

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, was arrested for allegedly beating Leonard Garber, 65, to death in his Newton home.

A Newton man was allegedly murdered by a former tenant of his who had been forging checks in his name, officials said Wednesday. 

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, also of Newton, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly beating Leonard Garber, 65, to death in his home. 

At about 3 p.m. on Tuesday, police went to the home of Garber on Mount Vernon Terrace in Newton and found his body. Garber had been the subject of an ongoing missing person investigation that began Monday night, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a press conference. 

That night, police received multiple calls from friends and family of Garber who were concerned about him, Ryan said. Garber typically kept in regular contact with those close to him, she added. He had not been heard from for multiple days. 

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When officers entered Garber’s house on Tuesday afternoon, it was their third visit this week. Police went to his home on Monday as well as earlier on Tuesday, Ryan said. 

Officers found Garber’s body wrapped in a curtain and buried under construction material and other heavy items in his front hallway. 

Based on preliminary information, Ryan said, law enforcement believe Garber’s body had been there for longer than a day and was purposefully positioned in an attempt to conceal it from anyone entering the building.

Through their investigation, police learned that Garber had been spending time with Ke recently. She is a former tenant of his at a different address, Ryan said. 

Ke was allegedly forging checks from a bank account of Garber’s. Ryan said she apparently stole more than $40,000 from him. 

At some point between last Thursday and Saturday, Garber learned of the alleged forgery and confronted Ke. Information released at this point suggests that Ke killed Garber with blunt force trauma, but an autopsy has yet to be completed. Police didn’t specify what the murder weapon was.

Security camera footage from outside Garber’s home shows Ke entering the building several times in the days leading up to the discovery of his body, officials said. 

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Ke was arrested early Wednesday morning at the Newton police station without incident. 

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said that Garber was a well-known member of the local community who attended synagogue regularly and got on well with his neighbors. 

Ke is also well known in the community, Fuller said. 

“I personally express my condolences, and I speak for the people of Newton when I say that our hearts and prayers are with you,” Fuller said, addressing Garber’s family.

Watch Wednesday’s press conference:

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