June 30, 2014

Death of Newton school counselor investigated as homicide

Police received results from an autopsy of Margaret “Marie” Daniels on Monday and announced that her death is now being investigated as a homicide.

The death of a Newton high school counselor is being investigated as a homicide after police received autopsy results Monday, the Newton Police Department said.

Thirty-one-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Daniels was found dead Saturday around 10:30 a.m. in her Windsor Apartments home on West 17th Street. Police did not release any information about cause of death or suspects or other leads in the case.

Police arrived at the apartment complex around 9 a.m. for a call regarding property damage. While there, police said, neighbors alerted them to Daniels’ body. A 911 call from a man who identified himself as a friend of Daniels was released Monday.

“One of my friends is in her apartment, and I think she’s been in there for like a day,” the man said in the 911 call. “She was in there laying down. I didn’t even want to touch her ... it shook me up when I seen her.”

The apartment complex’s janitor, Joe McCorkle, said he last saw Daniels around 11 a.m. Friday. He was at the complex when police discovered her body.

“It just tore me up to pieces,” McCorkle said.

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.

He said Daniels moved into the complex a little over a year ago, and he often saw her running outside, sometimes with friends. McCorkle says Daniels often left her door unlocked, something that’s not uncommon in the complex.

McCorkle said he thinks Daniels had a boyfriend who lives in South Carolina and visited her once or twice a month.

Aron Gabriel, the assistant superintendent of the Newton-Conover City Schools district, said Daniels was well-respected and loved at Discovery High School, where she was the school’s only counselor.

“Our hearts are definitely broken,” Gabriel said.

Daniels moved to North Carolina in 2005 after graduating from Notre Dame College, near Cleveland and taught English at Newton-Conover High School. She also coached basketball at N-CHS. In 2011, Daniels was named teacher of the year by the school district.

Daniels left N-CHS to pursue a master’s degree in counseling from Appalachian State University. In 2013, she began counseling students at Discovery High School.

“It just seemed very natural to her,” Gabriel said. “I think she really was like a hand in a glove.”

Gabriel and his colleagues hosted a gathering Sunday to offer a chance for the community to grieve together.

“The response was very positive,” Gabriel said, noting that around 300 people attended the gathering.

“People realized they’re part of a community,” he said. “They’re not by themselves.”

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