Douglass High School Teacher Arrested In 2008 Texas Murder Case
Rusty Surette, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – A Douglass High School teacher was arrested on a murder complaint for the 2008 homicide of a Cedar Hill, Texas middle school teacher and coach.
Monday, Cedar Hill police detectives, along with Oklahoma City police homicide detectives arrested Seidah Muhammad Vaughn for the 2008 murder of Judy Bell.
Both were teachers at Permenter Middle School in Cedar Hill. Police said a call the night of the deadly shooting indicate the two were partners.
In February 2008, Cedar Hill police were called to Bell's home about a burglary in progress. When they arrived, Vaughn told officers an unknown suspect had entered the house, shot Bell and fled.
After conducting interviews and continuing their investigation in three states, a witness came forward providing new evidence in the murder case. The evidence was presented to a Dallas County Grand Jury and detectives received an murder indictment for Vaughn.
"Our detectives have worked diligently for nearly three years to solve this crime. We are pleased to be able to file charges and we are confident they will result in a conviction, giving family and friends closure on this tragic situation," said Cedar Hill Police Chief Steve Rhodes.
At some point after the murder, Vaughn moved to Oklahoma City where she was hired as a substitute teacher in early 2009. A month later she was given her first teaching assignment at Northeast High School. She later transferred to Douglass High were she worked as a language arts teacher.
"We did our due diligence by looking up her background check and we do that with every employee," said Oklahoma City Public School District spokesperson Kathleen Kennedy.
Kennedy said because the arrest warrant for Vaughn was issued just last week, there was nothing about the crime in Vaughn's background check conducted nearly two years ago.
"Our student safety and other employee safety is our number one concern," said Kennedy.
As far as a motive, police say they don't know what sparked the shooting. Police said Vaughn is set to be arraigned in Tuesday morning. After that, she'll likely be taken back to Dallas County for her next hearing.