Two Iowa schoolboys aged 16 have been charged with the murder of their Spanish teacher. The crime was allegedly sparked by one of the boys posting about it on social networks.
Nohema Graber, Fairfield High School teacher, was found dead Tuesday in a park hours after she had been reported missing.
Her body had been hidden “under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties” after she appeared to have been killed by “trauma to the head,” court records show.
Records show that Willard Noble Chaiden Miller (one of her students) and Jeremy Everett Goodale (one of her co-accused) were charged with first degree murder and conspiracy forcible felony.
The teens were charged as adults “based on the circumstances” of the gruesome crime, officials said.
They were arrested after an “associate” of Goodale “provided investigators with social media exchanges” showing he had “specific details of the disappearance and subsequent death” of his teacher, the criminal complaints for each suspect said.
“The details included … the motive for killing Graber, the planning and execution of the means to kill Graber, as well as deliberate attempts to conceal the crime,” the documents said. They did not provide any details about the apparent motive.
The “associate” also showed “social media communications indicative of Miler also being involved and present” for the killing.
The affidavit states that investigators used the posts in order to obtain search warrants and found clothing that appeared covered in blood.
When interviewed, Miller “admitted” being in the park “as the murder was taking place, providing materials utilized in committing the murder, and aiding in actions taken to conceal the murder,” the affidavit said.
Officials have not speculated on possible motives or given details about what the teens allegedly discussed on social media.
Jefferson County Attorney Chauncey Moulding told the Des Moines Register that there was no evidence suggesting it was racially motivated, but promised his office would “absolutely follow the evidence.”
“This case is not, by any means, closed,” Moulding said.
Graber was a teacher at Fairfield High School, a city of approximately 9,400 people, which is close to Des Moines. Graber taught there since 2012.
Her son, Christian, insisted in a Facebook message Thursday that he had already forgiven the teens accused of murdering “an angel of a woman” who was “one of the kindest souls.”
“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,” he wrote.
His sister, Nohema Marie Graber, agreed, saying, “It is clear that they need more love and light in their hearts.“
“We’ve lost an absolute angel in our family. … She had so much joy in her eyes and such a deep sense of faith.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said her “heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues, and students that are dealing with this tragic murder.”
“Ms. Graber touched countless children’s lives through her work as an educator across our state by sharing her passion of foreign language,” Reynolds tweeted.