Students at a Georgia elementary school mourn the loss of a teacher whose body was found in Mexico after she had been missing since last month.
According to 11Alive, authorities announced Alexandra Morales was found dead in Mexico on Tuesday. She was last seen Oct. 30 in Zapopan, Mexico, and the circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear.
USA TODAY was unable to reach Mexican Embassy officials for comment.
Morales, 24, was a first grade teacher at Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The principal sent an email to students and parents/guardians notifying them of her death, CBS 46 reported.
“My heart sank,” Maria Palacios, a parent at the school, told the outlet. “She was so natural at it, and the kids loved her. They had so much fun.”
Palacios said it was difficult to explain to her 6-year-old that her teacher had died.
“Before I could get the words out, my daughter was crying already,” she said. “I had to respond, explaining what it means to not come back, that Ms. Morales was not coming back.”
Morales had been employed with the school since 2019 and took personal leave before her trip to Mexico, according to a letter sent to families and staff seen by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was supposed to return last week.
A GoFundMe set up to help Morales’ family raised more than $20,000 in two days.
USA TODAY was unable to reach the GoFundMe campaign organizer for comment.
“Alexa Morales made a beautiful impact in this world and we will carry her memory in our hearts forever,” the organizer wrote.
Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Missing Georgia elementary teacher found dead in Mexico, reports say