SPICEWOOD, TX -- A local firefighter is charged with tampering with physical evidence after his girlfriend's body is found in Lake Travis.
A body was found floating in Lake Travis near Tatum Cove on the east shoreline of Pace Bend Park at 11:37 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6. Mark Warren, an Assistant Chief with the Pedernales Fire Department, was among the first to respond the call of a water rescue.
"It was a sad situation, and we could not tell at the time if it was male or female," said Warren.
Monday the body was identified as that of 22-year-old Veronica Navarro. Travis County Sheriff's investigators say Navarro's body was wrapped in a tent that was weighed down with a paint can.
"No way did we know that there was any connection to anybody," said Warren. "Much less a connection to one of the members of our department."
However, there was a connection. Travis County Sheriff's investigators say 27-year-old Joe Carr, who had worked for the Pedernales Fire Department since 2008, is a suspect in Navarro's murder.
"My immediate reaction was it must be a mistake," said Warren. "It can't be Joe. I was in disbelief."
Investigators say Navarro's family last heard from her on June 27, nine days before her body was found. Investigators are not sure how long her body was in the water, but Carr's fellow fighters say he was the same old Joe just hours before their discovery.
"The 4th and the 5th he worked 24-hour shifts both days," said Warren. "He got off on the 6th at 9 in the morning. The 6th was when the call came in, and we went to retrieve the body in the lake."
Warren says it's hard to imagine one of their own committing such a crime.
"That is probably one of the worst things you could possibly do," said Warren. "There would not be any firefighter or any person I know that would not think that was a despicable, terrible thing to do. That would be horrible."
Warren says Carr did not show up for work on Sunday. Warren says it's the first time Carr has been AWOL.
Carr was detained while trying to enter Canada. He was detained on charges of tampering with physical evidence, but investigators say more charges are pending.