A young teacher has been found dead inside a rental car just days after going missing whilst on holiday in Mexico.
The body of Alexandra Morales, 24, was found on the side of the road in Guadalajara on November 9, and her boyfriend has now been arrested.
Morales – who taught at an elementary school in Georgia, US – was last seen on October 30 when she attended a concert of the band Codiciado at the Telmex venue, five miles outside Guadalajara.
Fidel Barragan, 28, was subsequently arrested by Mexican authorities, and has been charged with aggravated disappearance – but local officials have not ruled out filing more serious charges, including murder.
He is scheduled to appear in court in Mexico on Friday.
Morales' uncle, Ostin Cuenca, told local media that Barragan's arrest is only the beginning, and claimed that others may have played a role in her death. He urged authorities in the US to follow his niece's case to ensure that justice is served.
Cuenca said that after Morales attended the concert on October 30, her family tried to contact her but her phone was turned off.
She was officially reported missing by family members on November 5.
The Principal of Benefield Elementary School, Shonda Gipson-Stevens, told US media that Morales had taken personal leave in October but did not return to her classroom last week as planned.
After learning of Morales' death, Gipson-Stevens sent a letter to the children's parents to share the tragic news.
It read: "We know this loss touches many in our school community and we want to support our students and staff members during this difficult time.
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"Our counselors are here to listen, to talk, to assist with the questions, and to help with the emotions that accompany this type of loss."
Parent Maria Palacios told a US news source that her six-year-old daughter broke down in tears when she heard her teacher was not coming back.
She said her child had a special affinity for Morales because she was her first bilingual teacher.
"To have a Latina bilingual teacher was really important to her," Palacios said.
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"She was the first teacher she identified with personally, and it was the first teacher my daughter said, ‘I want to be a teacher, like Ms. Morales.'"
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched by a friend of Morales to help her family with final expenses.
"Alexa was adored by her parents and loved by her two brothers," Gabriela Rojas wrote in the description.
"She had a passion for adventure and traveling around the world was her joy. She was the most caring teacher to all of her students and her first-grade babies will miss her dearly."
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