Teacher John Roberts stood before his fourth-grade class Monday with a heavy heart.
In his hands he held an article that appeared in The Oklahoman, detailing the loss of one of his students during a weekend trip to Texas. Roberts read the article to his students and began to cry.
“That's how I initiated our dialogue,” he said.
Students and staff at John Glenn Elementary School have spent the last two days mourning and sharing memories of 10-year-old Jasmen Gonzalez, of Oklahoma City, who was reported missing shortly before midnight Saturday in Carrollton, Texas. Her body was found Sunday afternoon.
Roberts said he enjoyed having her in his class because she was the type of student that never needed to be disciplined. She was always driven to succeed in reading and learn the English language, he said.
Looking back on Monday, Roberts said it was an exceptionally hard day to cope with her death because she was so liked among her classmates, and because report cards were sent home. Jasmen had earned a B in reading, he said.
Many of the students were upset about her death. Some even made cards for the family, while others took different measures. One boy began reading his Bible at one point during class and brought his hands together in praying formation, Roberts said.
“Some of them sobbed softly. Some of them were visibly shaken,” Roberts said. “They all managed in their own way to deal with the disbelief of what was happening.”
Jasmen told Roberts she was going to spend the weekend with family and cousins in Texas. He said he remembers how excited she was when she boarded a school bus to leave Friday afternoon.
“I hugged her and said, ‘Have fun in Dallas. I'll see you Monday, sweetie,'” he said. “Her Monday never came.”
Family friend arrested
Carrollton police arrested family friend Jose Conception Sifuentes, 23, in connection with Jasmen's death Tuesday. Lt. Doug Mitchell said Sifuentes, who had been in custody on an immigration hold, is a cousin of the family by marriage.