Oct. 29, 2008 -- The husband of a missing Long Island, N.Y., special education teacher whose body was found near a highway today has been charged with her murder, police said.
The arrest of William Walsh came just hours after police identified the body, found earlier today, as Leah Walsh, the 29-year-old teacher who had been missing since Monday, police told ABC affiliate WABC-TV in New York.
Her body was found in a wooded area on the property of the North Hills Country Club, 50 feet from a service road on the Long Island Expressway, police said. It appeared the body had been there for more than 24 hours, they said.
Howard Hirschel, Leah Walsh's father, spotted his daughter's black Ford Focus, broken down with a flat tire, along a local highway near the town of Bethpage on Monday morning as he drove to work. He called his daughter's husband, who then called 911, according to police.
There was no sign of her, but her purse was found in a ditch near her car, police say.
William Walsh told reporters Tuesday that his wife sent him a text message early Monday, a few hours before the car was spotted, telling him to "have a great day," according to WABC-TV. That was the last he heard from her, he said.
"You can have my cars. You can have everything," he said outside his in-laws' house in Rockville Centre. "I just want my wife back."
The New York Daily News reported that Lucas Bean, a close friend of Leah Walsh, said Leah was distraught after a "blowup" with her husband Saturday.
Bean said Walsh sent him a text message on Saturday. "She was telling me that things are not going to work out with her and her husband, and she had to tell me something very important, but she needed to wait till she got out of the car with him," he said, according to the Daily News.
Police believe Walsh was killed Monday.
William Walsh's grandfather, also named William, told ABCNews.com that Leah, a teacher at the School for Language and Communication Development in Glen Cove, is "a wonderful little lady in all respects. A pleasure to be with."
Hirschel declined to comment Wednesday, telling ABCNews.com, "I'm really just not up to talking."
Police stopped traffic Wednesday morning near where Walsh's car was found and handed drivers fliers, seeking information about the case, WABC-TV in New York reported.
Early Wednesday, police told ABC News they had questioned William Walsh, but that he was not considered a suspect in his wife's disappearance.