GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) - Police in New Mexico have found the body of a missing Garland teacher. Emily Lambert worked at O. Henry Elementary School, part of the Richardson Independent School District.
Authorities in Eddy County, New Mexico have charged 33-year-old Robert Earley of Euless with the murder as well as tampering with evidence. Earley is also facing fugitive charges from the state of Texas. Lambert listed that she was in a relationship with Earley on her Facebook page.
Lambert disappeared on Saturday in New Mexico. The 30-year-old teacher, also the mother of two young children, was last seen at around 11:30 p.m. leaving the Blue Cactus bar in Carlsbad. According to a New Mexico newspaper, several law enforcement agencies conducted a search. Investigators found her body on a ranch in nearby Loving.
Lambert traveled to New Mexico to visit Earley, who was working in an oil field there. According to the arrest report, Earley initially made up a story about Lambert leaving the motel room the two were sharing in Carlsbad and running off with a truck driver.
He later admitted to getting into a physical fight with Lambert, hitting and kicking her in the mouth until she became unconscious. Earley admitted to loading Lambert in his car, hitting her with an air pump and tying a rope around her neck when she regained consciousness and tried to fight with him again.
Earley also confessed to attaching one end of the rope to his car and dragging Lambert to the location where her body was found. Earley said the two started arguing earlier in the day because someone made a pass at Lambert at a bar. He is being held on $1,000,000 bond.
The news of Lambert's disappearance and death has hit the Henry Elementary community hard. This was her first year as an instructor, teaching math and science to third-grade students. Grief counselors were brought to Henry Elementary's campus on Wednesday to help students and staff members get through what is sure to be a very difficult time.
"My staff is broken up," said principal Glenda Howell. "We're very disheartened right now. We just want to support Emily's family and do what we can to support her students and her learners."
Many parents had to break the news to their children. Monica Alford's son was one of Lambert's students, and she communicated with the teacher often, including a series of texts on Friday. Lambert told Alford, "I love seeing him smile every day" and "I want to do all I can do to help him be successful."
Howell said that students are remembering Lambert's lessons about the circle of life, and noting that she lives on through the writings in her classroom.
Lambert's family issued a statement on Facebook Tuesday night. It reads in part, "The essence of Emily is with God. Our family thanks each and everyone one of you for your outpouring of love, prayers, and support."
Emily's ex-husband, Donovan Lambert, told CBS 11 News he'd met Robert Earley on more than one occasion.
"He was always genuine and cordial, happy and friendly. I was actually okay with him," Donovan Lambert said.
Lambert remained friends with his ex-wife and lived down the street from her in Lewisville, to be close to their two young daughters.
Donovan Lambert says Emily was a wonderful mother and devoted teacher.
"She brought light to everybody everywhere she went. Nothing but friends–she didn't meet any strangers," said Donovan Lambert.
Emily Lambert's father says a memorial service is a being planned for Saturday at St. Phillips Presbyterian Church.
The family has also established a fund to support Lambert's two young daughters. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank to the "Remembering Emily Lambert Memorial Fund."