- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Friends and relatives of an Arlington County woman who disappeared under suspicious circumstances five years ago rejoiced yesterday at the news of her ex-husbands arrest but are still wondering what broke the case.
Jay E. Lentz was arrested by FBI agents on Monday at his home in rural Hancock County, Ind., and charged with killing Doris Faye Lentz, to whom he owed thousands of dollars in child-support payments.
Mrs. Lentzs loved ones kept faith that authorities would eventually find some crucial piece of evidence about Mr. Lentz, who was suspected in his ex-wifes disappearance from the start.
"I was still hoping this would happen," said Sara Stine, Mrs. Lentzs sister, who lives in Memphis, Tenn. "I just really sort of decided it would never happen. I know that theyve never given up trying to solve this."
Mrs. Lentz went missing on the evening of April 23, 1996, on her way from Arlington to Fort Washington, Md., to pick up her 4-year-old daughter Julia from Mr. Lentz.
Her car was found a week later in the Southeast quadrant of the District. Blood later determined to be hers was on the seats.
After granting an initial interview, Mr. Lentz refused to cooperate with police.
Relatives and friends yesterday said Agent Brad Garrett and Arlington County Detective John Coale, the main investigators on the case, kept in periodic contact with them.
"Theres a great appreciation for the perseverance and the capabilities of the FBI, especially Agent Garrett, in their pursuit of the case," said Charles Butt, Mrs. Lentzs brother, who lives in Auburn, Ala.
But theyre wondering what evidence may have led to Mr. Lentzs arrest — whether authorities located Mrs. Lentzs body, got DNA test results or something else.
Residents of Millington, a town outside Memphis where Mrs. Lentz grew up, felt Mr. Lentz was responsible for his ex-wifes disappearance, said George Harvell, who has served as the towns mayor for 16 years and was close friends with Mrs. Lentzs late father.
"Were just all delighted at least an arrest has been made," Mr. Harvell said by phone, looking out his City Hall window to view the house where Mrs. Lentz grew up.
Authorities yesterday declined to comment on the case.
Mr. Lentz goes to federal court tomorrow in Indianapolis for a detention hearing, and a judge may decide to extradite him at the time.
Little is known about Mr. Lentzs life in Indiana.
He did not appear to run afoul of the law in Indiana, according to the Hancock County Sheriffs Department and the FBI.
He lived outside the city of Greenfield and had a P.O. box, one source familiar with the case said.
He was an economics teacher at Greenfield Central High School during the 2000-2001 academic year. He resigned effective the end of the school year, but his last day was Dec. 20, said Gary Clinkenbeard, superintendent of Greenfield-Central Community School Corp.
Mr. Clinkenbeard declined to elaborate on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Lentzs departure from the school system.
But one source familiar with the case said Mr. Lentz was asked to resign because of poor job performance and discipline problems with students.
Family and friends of Mrs. Lentz say they know Mr. Lentzs arrest does not close the book on her disappearance.
"One of the things Im fearful of is what happens next," Mrs. Stine said.
"Where does it go now? Part of me wanted to go running and kicking and screaming, 'They finally arrested Jay. But part of me says: 'Now what does this mean for us? I expect it to be a long judicial process."


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