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Who Killed Beloved Texas Auto Shop Owner Harvey Huber?
Harvey Huber, a Texas father and grandfather, spent his life helping the underdog, but ultimately his generosity may have cost him his life.
The secret of what happened to beloved auto shop owner Harvey Huber was hidden in a dark Texas tunnel.
It was there a determined investigator made the pre-dawn discovery of ominous blood stains that led to the recovery of a piece of Huber’s skull in a tragic end to the search for the missing dad and grandfather.
Harvey had always been an advocate for the underdog and one to give those down on their luck a second chance—but Harvey’s generosity may have also cost him his life, according to Oxygen’s Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins.
The mechanic was the popular owner of Huber Auto Repair, an auto shop in Liberty Hill, Texas that turned into somewhat of a social club each night after work. Harvey’s friends would often stop by to have a drink and talk to Harvey, a 50-year-old father of two and grandfather to five.
“Harvey, he loved to be surrounded by friends,” his brother-in-law Rick Jowers recalled. “At the end of the day, he’d go get a case of beer or whatever and then all his buddies would show up and even his workers would stay and have a few beers with him. It was almost a daily thing. He liked his beer and he liked to drink a little whiskey every now and then.”
His wife of 30 years, Melissa Huber, helped answer the phones and run the business end of the auto shop.
The couple had gotten their start as high school sweethearts. "Harvey was so outgoing and he was so goofy, but I think that’s what Melissa liked in him, plus he was a good looking guy,” Harvey’s sister Dora Jowers said of what drew the long-standing couple together.
Three decades later, the marriage appeared to be going strong.
The night of February 25, 2020 began like any night. After work, Harvey and his friends had a few drinks at the shop.
Melissa would later tell officers that he called her around 9:30 p.m. that night to let her know he planned to stay overnight at the shop, which was not an unusual occurrence for him.
“He said he was just going to stay here,” she told an officer, according to body camera footage. “He’s almost like he’s bipolar when he’s drinking. He’ll be okay one second, not the next.”
On the phone, Harvey told her that he had gotten into a fight with an employee named Josh, who had become like a son to the couple and had lived with them after going through a rough patch.
“The argument gets heated,” Georgetown Police Detective Kirby Shoemake said. “From my understanding, Harvey was trying to get Josh to do more, get more certifications so he can support himself, to make something out of himself.”
Josh also described the fight as “kind of like father son stuff” and said although it “got a little aggravated” it was “nothing serious” and “nothing rough” happened between the men.
According to Josh, Harvey asked him to leave and he did, leaving Harvey alone at the shop around 9:30 p.m.—the same time he made that final call to his wife.
But by the next morning, Harvey was gone.
There were no signs of foul play inside the shop, but his employees noticed that a tarp was missing from one of the vehicles in a storage yard behind the repair shop. Strangely, Harvey’s truck, wallet with $2,100 in cash, keys, cell phone and cigarettes had also been left behind.
Harvey had been known to sometimes make the 20-mile trek from his shop to his home on foot, so Harvey’s friends and family set out to scour the grounds between the two locations.
But there was one noticeable absence from the search team. Harvey’s wife Melissa stayed behind at the shop and ordered a pizza while the search crews went out.
“It was horrible and we hollered and we walked and they stayed there and ate pizza,” Dora tearfully recalled.
When investigators requested to have a more in-depth conversation with Melissa, she opted to hire a lawyer.
“It is not common for a spouse to hire an attorney for a missing person if they’re trying to help find them and that’s all we were trying to do,” Shoemake said of the surprising move. “We just wanted basic information and yet she didn’t want to speak to us.”
With no sign of Harvey, Shoemake decided to take a closer look into Josh’s claims that he left the shop that night and went to the shop of a nearby friend Dan Adams, where he claimed to have spent the night. Adams confirmed Josh’s alibi and Josh agreed to give officers permission to search his phone.
Shoemake also wanted to speak to Jimmy Tschoerner, a tow truck driver, who had witnessed the fight between the two men.
Tschoerner had also been down on his luck and was living on the streets when he came by Harvey’s shop one day looking for work. Harvey helped him get a job with a tow truck company and the two men had remained friends.
The last night Harvey was seen alive, Tschoerner had been on-call with the tow truck company and stopped by the shop to visit with friends. He saw Josh and Harvey get into a fight and left shortly after the fight broke out.
But, Tschoerner told Shoemake he later returned to the auto shop around 10 p.m. to check on Harvey—making him the last person to see Harvey alive.
He told police that Harvey had just yelled at him through the door and he left.
Shoemake started to question that story, however, after discovering blood stains on the back of the tow truck bed.
Now believing they might have a possible homicide on their hands, the small Georgetown Police Department called in the Texas Rangers for help.
Texas Ranger Reid Rackley brought Tschoerner in for formal questioning. "Right away, things didn’t seem right,” Rackley told the show.
Tschoerner sat with his head on the table, claiming he was “meditating.” Tschoerner described living an “unorthodox life” living in his truck and sleeping in tunnels.
When confronted with the blood evidence found on his truck, he claimed he didn’t know anything about it and hadn’t done anything to Harvey.
But there was one surprising admission he was willing to make. Tschoerner admitted that before Harvey’s disappearance, he had been having an affair with Melissa.
“I love her man,” he told Rackley in the interrogation room.
Melissa also admitted to the affair, but insisted she didn’t know where her husband was and said she never asked her lover to get rid of her husband.
“I loved Harvey,” she insisted, adding that although Tschoerner had wanted her to leave Harvey, she had refused.
Investigators still had no idea what happened to Harvey. The case haunted Rackley, who unable to sleep, decided to search a nearby drainage tunnel off Interstate 35 in the pre-dawn hours, where he believed that Tschoerner may have slept sometimes.
“It was about 3 a.m. and I’m by myself,” he recalled. “It’s pitch black. I get my rifle, I sling it across my chest, I get my flashlight and I go down into this tunnel.”
Rackley walked the entire tunnel, but saw no sign of Harvey so he began to head back to his unit. Just as he was nearing the tunnel’s exit, his flashlight caught what looked to be a dark colored stain on the ground.
The stain tested positive for human blood and during a search of the area, investigators uncovered a piece of skull. They had found what little remained of Harvey.
After uncovering a surveillance video that showed Tschoerner’s tow trunk driving by with what looked like an object covered in a tarp on the back of the truck bed, as well as cell phone records tracking his movements that night, they concluded that the tow truck driver had likely killed Harvey at Huber Automotive and then taken him to the tunnel to dismember the body.
He’d later confess as part of a plea agreement to luring Harvey out to a motor home on the property and striking him in the head with an ax. He then dismembered the body and disposed of it in dumpsters across the city of Georgetown.
“I think deep down in Jimmy’s heart, he thought that he was going to be able to be with Melissa. He wanted to have Melissa and he felt like they could run that business together,” Harvey’s niece, Diana Flores, said.
Investigators considered the possibility that Melissa may have been involved in the plot to take her husband’s life. She admitted in a discussion with investigators that shortly before Harvey disappeared, she told Tschoerner she hoped he might get into a car crash.
“I said, ‘I wish Harvey would drive home sometimes and uh, maybe get in a wreck. That’s what I said,’” she told authorities in an interrogation. “But then I said, ‘no, I don’t want that to happen, because he could hurt himself and hurt someone else.’”
While she may not have been a doting wife, authorities never found any evidence to link her to the crime and she was never charged.
“There was no evidence that Melissa planned or asked Jimmy to commit this crime,” Rackley said.
They concluded that Tschoerner acted alone. In 2022, he pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for a 60-year sentence behind bars.