July 10, 2014

Text message to Newton school counselor warned woman about neighbor

A friend’s text message reveals that Maggie Daniels, who was found dead two weeks ago, was worried about a neighbor.

Less than a year before school counselor Maggie Daniels was found dead, she tweeted a text message from a friend warning her about a neighbor she had expressed concerns about.

“Be careful with your neighbor you mentioned,” the Aug. 13 screen shot of a text message said. “I would really encourage you to think about a self-defense class and to give serious consideration to other measures to protect yourself.”

Newton Police Chief Donald Brown said investigators found the tweet from Daniels' account this week.

"Who she was concerned about we don't know," Brown said. "But we're trying to track it down."

The case continues to attract national attention.

"Newton is a quiet town," Brown said. "This (case) just doesn't happen every day."

Brown attended Wednesday's memorial service for Daniels at Newton-Conover High School and described it as an emotional experience "for everyone in the building."

J.D. Dillingham, who lives in Daniels’ apartment complex and whose son was counseled by Daniels, attended the memorial and said the community is shocked by Daniels’ death.

“Everybody’s uneasy,” Dillingham said. “My wife doesn’t sleep that well because there is a murderer at large.”

Daniels moved to North Carolina in 2005 just after graduating from Notre Dame College near Cleveland, Ohio, and began teaching English at Newton-Conover High School.

Joe McCorkle, a janitor at Windsor Apartments where Daniels lived, said Daniels moved into the complex a little over a year ago. He last saw Daniels around 11 a.m. June 27, the day before she was found dead.

McCorkle said he always referred to Daniels as “the schoolteacher” and remembers her as being “real nice” any time he waved hello.

“She was a good girl,” he said.

In May, 2013, Daniels received a master’s degree in counseling from Appalachian State University. She began counseling students at Discovery High School in Newton later that year.

On Tuesday, police released a surveillance video still of Daniels leaving a Wal-Mart store in Conover on June 27. The store is about 4 miles north of Daniels’ Windsor Apartments home.

Police still have not released a cause of death or whether there are any suspects in the homicide investigation.

Newton police ask that anyone who saw Daniels at the Wal-Mart location contact investigators at 828-465-7430.

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