Iowa Town Grieves Spanish Teacher Nohema Graber, Allegedly Murdered by Two White Students
Photo via Facebook
A town in Iowa is experiencing both grief and shock at the heinous murder of Spanish teacher, Nohema Graber, at the hands of two of her 16-year-old students.
On Wednesday, police found the remains of Nohema Graber in a park where she would frequently take afternoon walks. Graber had been reported missing earlier in the day.
According to authorities, they found Graber’s body under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties. Detectives wrote that her cause of death was “inflicted trauma to the head.”
The two students allegedly responsible for her death —Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, and Jeremy Everett Goodale, 16 — have been charged with first-degree homicide and first-degree conspiracy to commit homicide. According to a press release posted on the City of Fairfield’s Facebook page, the two boys will be charged as adults “based on the circumstances and their ages.”
Considering Nohema Graber was both a Spanish teacher and a leader in Fairfield’s Latino community, members of the community fear that her murder was racially motivated.
“This murder is beyond comprehension on why this would occur,” said Iowa Latino civil rights organizer Joe Henry to the Des Moines Register. “We can only assume that the hateful rhetoric that has been promoted over the past five years continues.”
But Jefferson County Attorney, Chauncey Moulding says there is so far no evidence to point to Graber’s murder being a hate crime. He added, however, that the case “is not, by any means, closed.”
Friends and family remember Nohema Graber as a beloved teacher, mother and woman of deep faith who loved music, dancing, and traveling.
Graber’s daughter, Nohema Marie, took to Instagram to memorialize the mother who meant so much to her in life.
“We’ve lost an absolute angel in our family,” she wrote. “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.”
She continued: “To the two teenagers that so cruelly took her life, 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.”
“We don’t know exactly what happened. Why?” said Graber’s longtime friend, Edith Cabrera, to the Des Moines Register. “All the things she still wanted to do… She was an exceptional person, a lovely person. Especially with her family, even with her students.”
Born Nohema Castillo y Castillo in Xalapa, Veracruz, Nohema changed her last name to Graber when she married her husband, Paul Graber. She began her adult life working as a flight attendant for Mexicana de Aviación prior to earning a pilot’s license. Graber was one of the first women in Mexico licensed to fly passenger jets.
After having children, Graber settled in Fairfield, Iowa, where she eventually became a Spanish teacher. She worked as a Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School for almost 10 years.
She leaves behind three adult children and her ex-husband, Paul Graber, whom she was still amicable with.
“She just wanted kids to better themselves,” her ex-husband Paul Graber told local newspaper, The Hawk Eye. “That’s why this act of insanity or violence was just such a waste of so many lives.”
A GoFundMe for the family and funeral costs is set up here.