Students at a Georgia elementary school are mourning 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 on Oct. 30, in Zapopan, Mexico, and the circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear.
USA TODAY has reached out to officials for comment.
Morales, 24, was a first-grade teacher at Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The school principal sent out 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 had taken personal leave before her trip, according to a letter sent to families and staff seen by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was supposed to return last week, but never did.
A GoFundMe was set up to raise money for Morales’ family and has raised over $20,000 in two days.
USA TODAY has reached out to 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: [email protected]