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Iowa investigators: Killing of Fairfield Spanish teacher not racially motivated

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:57 AM CST
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FAIRFIELD, Iowa (KCCI) - The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said investigators are confident a Fairfield High School Spanish teacher’s death was not racially motivated.

It comes as the DCI continues its investigation into the death of Nohema Graber, whose body was found at a Fairfield park last week.

DCI Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt told KCCI Graber was seen going into the park and two teenage boys were also seen there, but investigators don’t believe the two suspects targeted Graber because she was Mexican.

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.

Mortvedt said investigators are looking into whether the suspects were upset about a bad grade.

“As far as a motive goes, they were students obviously at the Fairfield high school where she taught, and that’s all that we are able to confirm at this time,” Mortvedt said.

The two 16-year-old suspects are both still in jail on $1 million bonds.

KCCI reports Miller’s lawyer is high-profile Des Moines criminal defense attorney, Christine Branstad. She filed a motion on Monday requesting his release bond to be lowered.

Court hearings have been set for Nov. 12 for both Miller and Goodale.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is asking for people to come forward with any information they may have in this case.

A public prayer service for Nohema Graber is planned for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Fairfield High School. A private family service will be held at a later date.

A display at the Fairfield Library for Day of the Dead is now a memorial to Graber’s life.

At the school, people have set up flowers, pictures and condolences along a fence.

Graber’s obituary states people can send memorials to Saint Mary Catholic Church or Fairfield Parks and Rec.

Governor Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff today in honor of Nohema Graber.

The order will be in place from sunrise to sunset.

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