Two Iowa high school students are being charged as adults in the death of a Fairfield High School teacher, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office said
Authorities said Nohema Graber, a 66 year-old Spanish teacher, was reported missing on Tuesday
Her remains were found later that day at the Chautauqua Park in Fairfield, where she often goes for walks
She’d suffered trauma to the head and her body was found under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties at the park
Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, and Jeremy Everett Goodale, 16, both students at the victim’s school, have been arrested and charged in her killing
The pair allegedly plotted the pre-meditated murder of Graber – Cops received the tip from an ‘associate’ of Goodale that he’d posted details about planning the killing and a possible motive on social media,
Miller and Goodale are charged with first-degree homicide and conspiracy to commit first-degree homicides – each held on a $1 million bail
Authorities have not revealed the motive behind the killing
A pair of 16-year-old boys accused of killing their high school teacher Nohema Graber, and concealing her corpse in a park in southeast Iowa have been charged as adults.
Willard Noble Chaiden Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale, both high school students have been accused of murdering their high school’s Spanish teacher in a park, then dumping her remains under a wheelbarrow on November 3.
Miller and Goodale have both been charged as adults for the first-degree murder of 66 year-old Nohema Graber, who was found dead in the sleepy Iowa town of Fairfield on November 3. Graber taught Spanish at the nearby Fairfield High School, which her alleged killers attended, although cops and prosecutors have yet to reveal a motive for her murder.
Graber’s son Christian and daughter Nohema have both taken to Facebook in the aftermath of their mother’s murder 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.
Graber was last seen alive on November 2, was reported missing by her concerned family the next morning, with her remains 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.
Cops have said the killing was pre-meditated, but have not revealed a motive.
They also allege that Miller and Goodale discussed the murder on social media after the killing, but haven’t offered 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 detailing the criminal complaints against the two teens reveal that Miller admitted to investigators that he took part in the murder.
During the interview with detectives, 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, the complaint reveals.
Goodale was said to have worn bloodied clothes, although investigators still haven’t said who they suspect of beating the teacher to death.
The newly released documents also reveal that an associate of both Goodale and Miller provided information detailing social media exchanges between the two teens that indicated Goodale knew specific details pertaining to Graber’s disappearance and death.
A search warrant was then executed by Jefferson County police, who searched Goodale’s residence, uncovering ‘multiple clothing items appearing to have a substance consistent in appearance with that of blood,’ the complaint states.
The court documents also reveal that investigators questioned an additional teen, this one an ‘associate’ of only Goodale, who reported meeting with Goodale at the park the day that Graber disappeared.
Investigators added in their report that the clothes the witness described matched a blood-spattered outfit cops seized from Goodale’s home, adding in the report that the clothes ‘contained a substance consistent in appearance with blood.’
According to police, the witness ‘described Goodale as wearing clothing consistent in appearance to that which was seized’ during the search.
The witness also told lawmen that saw Miller at the park as well.
Miller and Goodale, both 16 and students at the school, have been charged as adults with first-degree homicide and conspiracy to commit first-degree homicide, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said.
The shocking details emerged as Graber’s son and daughter both took to social media to say they forgive their mom’s alleged killers.
Graber’s body was found concealed under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties at Chautauqua Park, where she frequently walked in the afternoons. Graber a mother-of-three leaves two sons and one daughter.
After her remains were recovered, Graber’s eldest son Christian memorialized his mother on Facebook: ‘I’m sorry I can’t respond to the all of the messages but I’ll just say what I’ve been told. My mother passed away.
‘As I understand it was pre attempted murder by two students. I forgive them and feel sorry that they had that anger in their hearts.
‘There’s no point in being angry at them. We should hope that they can find peace in their lives.
‘My mother was an angel of a woman and was one of the kindest souls.
‘She gave me the gift of the Spanish language and helped many of her students over the years.
‘She was well loved in the community and around the world.
‘Thanks to everyone who reached out. I may ask for some help with things in the following days but in the end everything will be ok. Te amo madre.’
Meanwhile, daughter Nohema Marie wrote, ‘We’ve lost an absolute angel in our family.
‘It is all thanks to her for instilling a love of travel and languages that my brothers and I have continued to experience the world throughout our lives.
‘We had the wonderful fortune of growing up in a home filled with such an abundance of warmth and love.
‘I will miss her loud laugh and dancing with her to any music that was playing, she had so much joy in her eyes and such a deep sense of faith.
‘To the two teenagers that so cruelly took her life,’ she continued, ‘it is clear that they need more love and light in their hearts.
‘But I agree with my oldest brother Christian, all we can do is forgive.
‘I am filled with so much gratitude to have had such a strong and beautiful woman as my mother.
‘And from the outpouring of messages, it’s incredibly touching to know that her presence impacted so many. What a blessing she is, we know that her soul lives on in heaven.’
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.
The both made a first court appearance Thursday via video conference. Court documents indicate they did not yet have attorneys.
Magistrate Stephan Small ordered a state public defender to represent Goodale. Documents said Miller did not request a court-appointed attorney and it wasn’t immediately clear who would represent him.
According to court filings made public Thursday afternoon, Graber suffered ‘inflicted trauma to the head.’
Her body was found concealed under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties at the park, where she frequently walked in the afternoons.
It’s believed the crime was carried out late Tuesday afternoon.
Police received the tip from an ‘associate’ of Goodale that the teen posted details about planning the killing and a possible motive on social media, according to the court documents. The filings did not detail the teen’s possible motive for killing his teachers.
Investigators said they also talked with an additional witness who saw the two teens at the park on Tuesday afternoon.
A search warrant at the suspects’ homes uncovered clothing items that appeared to have blood on them, police said.
Police confronted Miller, who ‘admitted to being in Chautauqua City Park as the murder was taking place,’ a criminal complaint states, ‘providing materials utilized in committing the murder, and aiding in actions taken to conceal the murder.’
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.
‘An act like this is unspeakable, and we are torn that one of our education family is a victim to such a senseless act,’ a statement from Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek read.
‘Every day educators work tirelessly to protect the students in their care. With full hearts and deep commitment, educators have been the backbone of our state and our nation during this unprecedented time. We cannot understand this, or any violence aimed at such guardians.’
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.
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.