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Fairfield teacher, Nohema Graber killed by Two teens

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Nohema Graber

Investigators say two teens killed a Fairfield teacher and are now facing first-degree murder charges.

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Nohema Graber, 66, remains was found at Chautauqua Park in Fairfield on Wednesday. Graber, a Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School, was reported missing earlier in the day. KWQC reported.

Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, and Jeremy Everett Goodale, 16, have been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder. They are being charged as adults.

Her body was located in the park Wednesday afternoon concealed under a tarp, wheelbarrow, and railroad ties. An investigation at the scene indicated Graber had “suffered inflicted trauma to the head”, according to criminal complaints filed in Jefferson County Thursday afternoon. The TV station reported.

Court documents reveal that officials received a tip during their investigation that included information about a social media exchange indicating Goodale had knowledge of Graber’s disappearance and death. 

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The exchange also included information about plans to kill the Fairfield high school teacher, including a motive and efforts to conceal the murder. Social media exchanges also indicated Miller was involved and present at the time of Graber’s death.

Search warrants were executed at the homes of both Miller and Goodale where investigators said they collected clothing that appeared to contain blood. Officials said they spoke to an acquaintance who saw the teens in Chautauqua Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The criminal complaint said that Miller admitted to investigators that he was in the park at the time of the murder, provided materials used in the killing, and then helped to conceal it. KWQC added.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are still investigating.

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Graber had more than fifteen years of experience in the classroom. She most recently taught Spanish at Fairfield High School where she’d worked since 2012. She spent six years teaching Spanish in the Ottumwa School District before her time in Fairfield.

The district said that in her nine years of teaching at Fairfield High School, Graber touch the lives of many students, parents, and staff.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Mrs. Graber,” Fairfield Community School District Superintendent Laurie Noll said in a statement. “At this time our students’ and staffs’ well-being is our top priority. As a community, we will remain united in this time of tragedy.”

The Iowa State Education Association in a statement said, “Our hearts are broken over the news of Fairfield High School Spanish teacher Nohema Graber’s death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and her colleagues . . . An act like this is unspeakable. We are torn that one of our education family is a victim to such a senseless act.”

The Fairfield School District canceled classes Friday after dismissing high school students early Thursday. The district is making support resources available for students and staff at the high school.

A vigil to honor Graber has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday on the east side of Fairfield High School.

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