The Murder of Nohema Garber

On November 2, 2021, Jeremy Goodale and Willard Miller beat their Spanish teacher, Nohema Graber to death with a baseball bat and hid her body.

Nohema Graber

Nohema Graber was born on November 10, 1954, in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Her parents, Noe and Concepcion Castillo also had a son, Rutilo Castillo. Nohema was a flight attendant for 17 years and was one of the first woman in Mexico to have training to fly passenger jets.

Nohema married Paul Graber in 1986. They moved from Mexico to Fairfield, Iowa in 1992. They raised their three children there, and she was heavily involved in their community church. While in her 50s, Nohema went to school and earned an English degree and teaching certificate from Wesleyan University. She worked at Ottumwa High School before switching to Fairfield High School.

Background

Family of Nohema Graber, 66, reported her missing on November 3, 2021. Law enforcement started to search locations that Nohema frequently traveled to check if there were any signs of her. Police were able to track down a video which showed her entering the Chautauqua City Park on November 2, 2021.

Police found Nohema’s remains while searching on November 3, 2021. Her body, which was found within the Chautauqua City Park limits, was covered with a tarp, wheelbarrow, and railroad ties. There was obvious trauma to her head.

Investigation

According to court documents released in November 2021, police identified an acquaintance of Jeremy Goodale, 16, who told the police about Snapchat messages that tied Goodale and Willard Miller, 16 to the murder. According to an affidavit, the messages included the motive, plans, and means for the murder. Police secured a search warrant for Goodale’s house, which lead them to find various items of clothing that appeared to have blood on them.

More court documents were unsealed in March 2022. These documents revealed that Goodale and Miller had watched Nohema, learned her schedule, and planned to murder her. On November 2, 2021, the teenagers attacked her, forced her into the woods, beat her using a baseball bat, and left her to die. Police obtained surveillance that showed Nohema driving into the park around 4:00pm. About 42 minutes later her car was seen driving out, followed by a pickup truck.

Willard Miller (left) Jeremy Goodale (right)

After Goodale and Miller left the park, Miller went to his house and got a wheelbarrow. A witness told police he saw a male pushing a wheelbarrow around midnight the night of the murder. Miller and Goodale used the wheelbarrow to move the body and then conceal it.

 

Though police say that the Snapchat messages show a motive, they have not yet released it.

Arrest & Court Proceedings

Both Miller and Goodale have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They have been in custody since November 2021. Goodale has a trail set for August 23, 2022, and Miller’s trial date is November 1, 2022. Their lawyers are fighting to get the case moved to juvenile court. As of now, both are being tried as adults.

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