The body of a pregnant Louisiana teacher has been found in a ditch after a police search that lasted several days. An assistant principal at the school where she worked has been charged with her murder.
On June 14, police discovered the badly decomposed body of Lyntell Washington, a 40-year-old instructional specialist at Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the ditch of a sugar cane field, the Advocate reported. Washington was reportedly seven months pregnant at the time of her death.
Robert Marks, an assistant principal at Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy, has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree feticide in Washington's death. Marks, who is married, was allegedly having an extramarital affair with the teacher and was reportedly the father of her unborn child. Police believe he murdered Washington after she threatened to expose the affair to his wife, according to KTLA.
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Police launched a search for Washington after they discovered her 3-year-old daughter wandering alone in a parking lot in Baton Rouge June 9, according to the Advocate. According to a police report, the toddler told police at the scene that "Mom's in the lake," and "Mr. Robbie hurt her mom and was now sleeping."
The missing woman's car was also found abandoned in the parking lot with blood spattered in the interior of the vehicle, according to KTLA. After Washington's body was found five days later, an autopsy revealed that she had died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Marks, who is currently being held in 23-hour solitary confinement at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, was initially arrested June 9 on charges of kidnapping the little girl. Those charges were upgraded to murder after Washington's body was discovered.
Cell phone records from the day Washington went missing showed that she and Marks were in the area where her body was eventually found around 9:45 p.m., and then about 15 minutes later traveled to the parking lot where the toddler was discovered.
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Washington was awarded "Teacher of the Year" at Eden Park Superintendent's Academy in Baton Rouge, according to KTLA. Her colleagues remember her as a devoted educator who cared deeply for her students.
"Ms. Washington was a treasured member of our team and will be remembered for the impact she had on the many lives she touched through her work in the district," Warren Drake, superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish schools, wrote in an official statement released June 16.
"We will continue to offer support to Ms. Washington's coworkers and students during this difficult time."