An Atlanta-area first-grade teacher who traveled to Mexico for vacation last month was found dead on the side of the road in Guadalajara 10 days after she was last seen, leading to her boyfriend’s arrest.
The body of Alexandra Morales, 24, who taught at Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia, was discovered on November 9 inside a rental car.
Morales was last seen October 30, when she attended a concert of the band Codiciado at the Telmex venue in Zapopan, which is five miles outside Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Atlanta-area teacher Alexandra Morales, 24 (left), was found died inside a rental car in Guadalajara, Mexico, on November 9. Her boyfriend, Fidel Barragan, 28 (right), was arrested on a charge of aggravated disappearance
Mexican authorities subsequently arrested Morales’ boyfriend, 28-year-old Fidel Barragan, on a charge of aggravated disappearance, but local law enforcement officials have not ruled out filing more serious charges, including murder.
Barragan is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in Mexico later on Friday.
Speaking exclusively to Telemundo Atlanta, Morales’ uncle, Ostin Cuenca, said that Barragan’s arrest is only the beginning, and 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 October 30, her family tried to call her but her phone was shut off. She formally was reported as missing by family members on November 5.
Morales was last seen alive on October 30 at a concert that was held at the Telmex arena in Zapopan, Mexico (pictured)
Morales’ father and one of her brothers traveled to Mexico to transport her body back to the US for burial.
Benefield Elementary School Principal Shonda Gipson-Stevens told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Morales had taken personal leave in October but did not return to her classroom last week as planned.
She was hired to teach first grade in 2019 after graduating from Georgia State University. After learning of Morales’ death, Gipson-Stevens sent a letter to the parents, sharing the tragic news with them.
After being unable to reach her, Morales’ family reported her missing on November 5
‘We know this loss touches many in our school community and we want to support our students and staff members during this difficult time,’ Gipson-Stevens wrote. ‘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 CBS46 that her six-year-old daughter broke down in tears when she heard her teacher was not coming back.
Palacios said her child had a special affinity for Morales because she was her first bilingual teacher.
Morales had taught first grade at Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia, since 2019
‘To have a Latina bilingual teacher was really important to her,’ Palacios said. ‘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.’
One of Morales’ sorority sisters has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her family with her 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.