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Surveillance footage and new details of a 911 call seem to further implicate a man accused of killing his girlfriend with an axe, according to investigators.
Preston Higgs was extradited to New Orleans on Friday to face charges related to the murder of High School teacher Liz Quackenbush, 39, who was found dead in their shared home, according to NOLA.com. He was arrested in Indiana after 18 weeks on the run.
"Liz was a truly beautiful human, inside and out," said the leader of New Harmony High School, Sunny Dawn Summers, to Oxygen.com. "She approached every day with our students and her co-workers with an incredible energy."
On March 3, 2021, New Orleans law enforcement responded to a call of “an aggravated battery by cutting,” according to a press release. At the home they found Quackenbush's body. She had been struck with an axe and had wounds to her head and right hand.
Two days after later police issued a statement implicating her long-time boyfriend in the killing.
“Through investigation, NOPD Homicide Unit detectives developed and positively identified Higgs as the perpetrator in this incident and obtained an arrest warrant on a charge of second-degree murder,” the statement read.
Higgs fled the state.
An out-of-state caller, who has not been identified, called the police to report the murder, according to court documents obtained by NOLA.com. The caller said that Preston Higgs “hit his girlfriend in the head with a weapon, that she was dead, and that the incident occurred on the previous day.”
The caller also led authorities to the murder weapon at the home.
Also collected as evidence was home surveillance video that showed no one else entering or exiting the home around the time of Quackenbush’s death.
Sometime after 5:00 p.m., Higgs left the home and drove away.
On March 14, Higgs’ cell phone was found in the bed of a pickup truck in rural Iowa, according to Nola.com, though the delivery driver who owned the vehicle did not know how it got there.
In May, Higgs’ car was found in Chicago.
The US Marshal service, who assisted in the case, believed that Higgs passed through Rochester, Minnesota, where he and Quackenbush grew up, according to NOLA.com.
Eventually, authorities found Higgs on a Greyhound bus in Indiana, where he was arrested and held before his extradition back to Louisiana.
The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office booked Higgs on Friday and charged him with second-degree murder, according to inmate records.
Liz Quackenbush was a beloved chemistry teacher at New Harmony High School known for creating the ‘Outdoors Adventures’ program, which utilized nature-themed experiences, like kayaking and gardening, to help students grasp science and math studies.
“You know when you find yourself communing with nature, out in the wild, and you have that feeling of awe? It’s that feeling,” Quackenbush’s brother, Mike, told NOLA.com. “That’s Liz.”
Liz Quackenbush was described as a tattooed and unorthodox teacher who really cared for her students.
"She was a pioneer- of challenging curriculum and bold ideas," Summers told Oxygen.com. "Our New Harmony family will never be the same."
Higg's bail has been set at $75,000.
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