Slain Iowa teacher gave interview to local paper day before she died: report

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The Iowa teacher whose body was found underneath a tarp at a local park after police say she was murdered by two students gave an interview to a paper just a day before she died and talked about mortality. 

Nohema Graber, 66, who was considered a leader in the Fairfield, Iowa, community, visited the town’s library to admire a display commemorating the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated by people of Mexican heritage.

This photo provided by the Fairfield (Iowa) Police Department shows Nohema Graber. (Fairfield (Iowa) Police Department via AP)
(Fairfield Iowa Police Department via AP)

“We all know we are going to die,” she told the paper, according to KCCI. “It’s our way of laughing at death.”

Graber taught at Fairfield High School, which is in the southeastern part of the state. Preliminary evidence indicates that she suffered from “trauma to the head,” according to court filings. Her body was located at Chautauqua Park.

Willard Noble Chaiden Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale, both 16, were charged as adults in the killing.

Jefferson County authorities say Willard Noble Chaiden Miller (right) and Jeremy Everett Goodale (left) are charged as adults with first-degree homicide and conspiracy to commit first-degree homicide in the death of 66-year-old Nohema Graber. (Fairfield (Iowa) Police Department via AP)
(  Fairfield Police Department via AP)

Police received a tip that Goodale posted details about planning the killing and a possible motive on social media, according to court documents. Authorities have not yet released the motive. The court documents indicated police investigators found clothing that appeared to contain blood at the homes of the teens.

Graber was born in Xalapa, Mexico, the capital of the state of Veracruz, about 180 miles (289 kilometers) east of Mexico City. She moved to Fairfield, the hometown of her husband Paul Graber, in the 1990s. They divorced five years ago but remained close, he told The Des Moines Register.

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in the state to fly at half-staff Tuesday to honor the teacher.

“My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues, and students that are dealing with this tragic murder of Nohema Graber,” Reynolds said, according to “Ms. Graber touched countless children’s lives through her work as an educator across our state by sharing her passion of foreign language.”

Assistant Jefferson County Attorney Patrick J. McAvan said Friday that many people are asking if this is a racially motivated crime. “We do not have any evidence at this point that suggests that,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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