What happened to Alexandra Morales? Family hunt for answers as teacher murdered on Mexico trip

Uncle claims his niece and a popular first-grade teacher was subject to a kidnapping

Gino Spocchia
Monday 15 November 2021 19:56 GMT
A photo shared by Alexandra Morales’s family
A photo shared by Alexandra Morales’s family (GoFundMe/AlexandraMorales)

Alexandra Morales was a school teacher in Gwinnett CountyGeorgia, who went missing after a not returning from a planned holiday to Mexico last month.

Authorities said last week that the 24-year-old’s body had been been found dead inside a rental car in Guadalajara, a city in western Mexico. The remains have not been officially identified.

The white Volkswagen Polo vehicle was found on Paseo del Real Country Avenue, in Zapopan – a city directly west of Guadalajara – and was rented by the victim upon arrival in the city, according to prosecutors.

The location of the vehicle was not far from where she was last seen in public at the concert in Guadalajara, and, according to prosecutors in Jalisco, Ms Morales had travelled to meet a main suspect at the event.

On Friday, he was identified as 28-year-old Fidel Barragan, who is expected to remain in jail in Jalisco for a year

That was an “precautionary measure requested by the agent of the Public Ministry” (translated from Spanish), ahead of a trial. Authorities also confirmed that he was from Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico.

Speaking at a press conference on 9 November, authorities for the prosecutors office in Jalisco also suggested that Mr Barragan would possibly face charges of femicide for violence against a woman. The crime carries imprisonment sentences of between 45 to 65 years in jail.

Ms Morales family told Telemundo Atlanta last week that Mr Barragan, the suspect, was known to them as a boyfriend, and that they had recovered images of the two together. Authorities have not confirmed that.

“She didn’t do anything to anyone. She was an intelligent, educated teacher, who served the country,” her uncle, Ostín Cuenca, said in an interview with Telemundo at the weekend.

He also alleged that Ms Morales was the victim of a kidnapping involving “several people” after her family were allegedly asked for a ransom. Mr Cuenca added that her boyfriend was involved. However this remains unconfirmed.

The Georgia educator had been on paid leave from Benefield Elementary School, and as FOX5 Atlanta reported, was a first grade teacher.

Her family informed the school of her disappearance and the discovery of what was believed to be her body last Tuesday, with the school emailing parents to inform them of the situation the following day.

It allegedly read: “After notifying our staff members, we made phone calls to the families of students in Ms Morales’ class so that they could comfort their child.”

“That said, we know this loss touches many in our school community and we want to support our students and staff members during this difficult time.”

The school added that councillors were available for students, and that Ms Morales’s class was being taught by a substitute teacher in the mean time.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the teacher, and says “Alexa was adored by her parents and loved by her two brothers. She had a passion for adventure and traveling around the world was her joy”.

“She was the most caring teacher to all of her students and her first-grade babies will miss her dearly. She was a loyal friend to many and a proud Hermana of our sorority, Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc.”

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