Home Scandal and Gossip Iowa teens murder Fairfield Spanish teacher: racially motivated?

Iowa teens murder Fairfield Spanish teacher: racially motivated?

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Nohema Graber Fairfield Spanish teacher murder
Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale Iowa teens (pictured) charged with first degree of murder of Nohema Graber Fairfield Spanish teacher.
Nohema Graber Fairfield Spanish teacher murder
Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale Iowa teens charged with first degree of murder of Nohema Graber Fairfield Spanish teacher.

Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale Iowa teens charged with first degree of murder of Nohema Graber Fairfield Spanish teacher. No known motive. 

Two Iowa high school teens have been accused of murdering their high school Spanish teacher. The woman’s remains were found dumped in a park, under a wheelbarrow. 

Willard Noble Chaiden Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale, both 16, were charged as adults for the first-degree murder of 66 year-old Nohema Graber, who was found dead in Fairfield on November 3. 

The teens were also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree homicide the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said.  

Graber taught the pair Spanish at the nearby Fairfield High School, with her son Christian and daughter Nohema both taking to Facebook in the aftermath of their mom’s killing to say they’d forgiven her alleged murderers. 

The suspects’ mugshots were released Thursday night, with cops saying the pair plotted the pre-meditated murder of Graber as she took one of her regular strolls through Chautauqua Park on Tuesday. 

Pre meditated murder

Graber was last seen alive on November 2, and was reported missing by her family the next morning, with her body found under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties on November 3.

She had suffered head trauma, although a cause of death hasn’t been revealed.   

It’s believed the crime was carried out late Tuesday afternoon.

Police believe the killing was pre-meditated, but have not revealed a motive. 

Cops said Miller and Goodale discussed the murder on social media after the killing, while declining to provide further detail on the nature of those postings, what platform they were made on, and whether they were public or private.

Court documents released Thursday reveal Miller admitting to investigators that he took part in the murder.

Miller allegedly admitted he was at the park as the murder was taking place, provided materials used in the murder and helped hide Graber’s body according to a criminal complaint.  

Was murder racially motivated? 

A search warrant executed by Jefferson County police searched Goodale’s residence, uncovering ‘multiple clothing items appearing to have a substance consistent in appearance with that of blood,’ a criminal complaint stated. 

Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding described the ‘much loved’ educator’s ‘brutal’ murder as a tragedy while saying it wasn’t clear if the Spanish teacher’s killing was racially motivated according to the Des Moines Register.

Leaders in Iowa’s Latino communities say Graber’s killing falls in line with crimes against Latinos they say have been driven by hate.

Authorities said the two juveniles will be tried as adults, citing circumstances and their ages. They are both being held on a $1 million bail, records show. 

Graber, originally from Xalapa, Mexico, taught Spanish classes at Fairfield High School since 2012, though it was not disclosed whether she had been the teens’ teacher. She previously taught in the Ottumwa Community School District

The educator’s brutal death led to many in the community reeling.

Much loved teacher

‘She’s one of those teachers that she expected a lot out of you. But she was there for you 100%,’ said Graber’s friend, Diane Bekel according to KTVO. ‘If you needed help, she would do whatever she needed to do, she loved teaching, she loved her students. As a teacher this hits hard. Teaching is all about relationships and she was a good one.’

In a written statement, Fairfield Superintendent Dr. Laurie Noll said the district is saddened to hear the news of Graber’s passing.

‘In her nine years at Fairfield High School, Nohema touched the lives of many students, parents, and staff,’ the district’s statement reads.

Fairfield students were dismissed from classes Thursday and all classes on Friday were canceled, the school district said. The school said its counseling services will remain open for students and staff.

The investigation remains ongoing, with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assisting the Fairfield Police Department, Fairfield Fire Department, Iowa State Patrol, Jefferson County Emergency Management, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Jefferson County Attorney’s Office. 

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 12 for Miller and at 11:30a.m. the same day for Goodale at the Jefferson County Courthouse. 

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