Maggie Daniels’ family speaks out: ‘Only love lives here’

The family of slain school counselor Maggie Daniels released a statement Tuesday praising law enforcement officials and thanking the Newton community for an “outpour of love and support.”

“We will never get over the loss of our sweet Maggie and there will forever be a hole in our hearts, but we will focus on all the good in Maggie, continue on with her selfless acts of kindness, and carry on her legacy of pure goodness,” the statement said.

The statement, sent to the Observer by Daniels’ sister, was released three days after Newton police arrested and charged a suspect with Daniels’ murder.

Daniels, 31, was found dead in her Windsor Apartments home on June 28. After five weeks and more than 150 interviews, police arrested Sharman Howard Odom, 32, on Saturday. Odom lived in the same apartment complex as Daniels.

Police said interviews and physical evidence led to the arrest. That evidence includes a photo Odom took of himself the day Daniels was found dead that shows scratches on his face. He was the only person ever identified as a suspect.

“We are incredibly relieved to have that suspect in custody,” the family said in the statement, adding that the family has had “unwavering faith and confidence in the Newton Police Department” throughout the investigation.

Odom is being held in the Catawba County jail without bond.

“We continue to seek justice for Maggie and we are hopeful that with the recent arrest, it will save another family from having to go through such a tragic nightmare,” the family said.

Daniels, who grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, moved to North Carolina in 2005 after graduating from Notre Dame College. In 2006, she began teaching English and coaching basketball at Newton-Conover High in Newton and was named teacher of the year in 2011.

Daniels was working toward a master’s degree in counseling at Appalachian State University. In 2013, she began counseling students at Discovery High School in Newton.

“It is clear that Maggie touched countless people’s lives throughout her short time here on earth,” the family said.

“Maggie will live in our hearts forever. Only love lives here.”