Kellye Taylor was at recess with her students last Friday, when a man ran up, stabbed her in the neck, and ran off. She was able to gasp, “Calm down. Call 911,” as her students screamed and her fellow teacher began to panic.
By the time the paramedics arrived, there was nothing they could do. Taylor, 53, was covered in her own blood as her pupils rolled back in her eyes. Her sister Mary Bryant, who was there while the paramedics made a valiant attempt to save her, said, "They didn't stop working, they didn't stop working. But I knew she was gone already."
The California grandmother had been dedicated to improving education for lower-income families her entire life.
Her mom, Carrie Bryant, started a preschool in 1972 in Cambodia Town, an area in desperate need of affordable day-care. Later, she started Huntington Academy, an elementary school for working class children. Kellye grew up at the schools, and she eventually became a beloved teacher known affectionately as Miss Kellye.
What in the world could possess someone to murder a teacher and pillar of the community? Police have arrested Steven Brown, 50, on suspicion of the murder. He’s Kellye’s daughter Tia’s boyfriend, and the biological father of three of the five children she had in her custody.
According to court documents, he was convinced that she was an “informant,” that told social workers he was an unfit parent, and that her daughter would be better off without him.
Social workers have been receiving calls about Steven Brown and Tia Turner since May 2006, alleging that the couple neglected and abused their children. In 2010, Long Beach police said the home was “debris-strewn and devoid of food except for two cans of SpaghettiOs.”
In 2011, Brown was convicted of child cruelty for punching Tia’s 16-year-old son in the face, and he was ordered to stay away from the children for three years. Earlier this year, Tia was arrested on suspicion of slapping Brown and hitting him with keys. The children were removed from the home by social workers.
The Huntington Academy was closed on Monday, but remnants of a weekend vigil remained. One displayed note written by the teenage grandson Brown had hit read, "Love you Grammy, will remember to make good decisions."
Does this just break your heart?
Image via Therealdigitalkiwi/Flickr