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NEWTON, NC (WBTV) -
Police are investigating the death of a Newton-Conover high school teacher who was found dead in her apartment Saturday as a homicide. They say autopsy results reveal that there was "foul play" involved.
Investigators are trying to figure out who killed Margaret "Maggie" Elizabeth Daniels.
The 31 year old was a popular guidance counselor and coach who was once teacher of the year for the Newton Conover City Schools.
Her murder has stunned the quiet Newton community.
Monday night, a spokesperson for the Daniels' family released a statement that said, "We are deeply saddened by the terrible news surrounding the death of our loved one, Maggie Daniels. Words cannot describe the grief that we are going through right now. We, as a family, have decided not to comment while there is an ongoing investigation."
Officers with the Newton Police Department were at the Windsor Apartments investigating an unrelated damage to property report on W. 17th Street when, just after 10:30 a.m., when a neighbor told the officers there was an unresponsive woman in another apartment.
Police entered the apartment and found 31-year-old Margaret "Maggie" Elizabeth Daniels deceased. Officials have not said how she died.
Investigators said they interviewed several people, and also checked video from surveillance cameras around downtown Newton to try and pinpoint when Daniels was last seen alive.
Detectives said they're following all leads, even from social media.
Police tell WBTV the explosion on twitter and face book about this case is not like anything they've seen. Detectives say they're trying to determine what is fact from social medial speculation.
"I knew when she didn't text me back and meet me [for lunch], I figured something was wrong," Addie Shuford said.
Shuford told WBTV she went to Daniels' apartment, where she found an unlocked door, and her friend unresponsive inside.
Daniels worked at Discovery High School where she taught English, was a coach and a counselor for students.
Sunday afternoon, a memorial was held at Discovery High School. Dozens of Daniels' students, coworkers and friends attended, many still in shock.
"I keep playing it over and over in my mind. If I could have just been there with her," Addie Shuford said.
Shuford told WBTV she was Daniels' mentor. "When she came to North Carolina eight years ago, I took her up under my wing and guided her through the system," she said.
She said the two were as close as can be, and that Daniels even called her mom.
"She had no enemies, none whatsoever, which is why it's so stunning," Shuford said.
"She always wanted to be there for you, she always wanted to help you," said Olivia Abernathy, one of Daniels' students.
Daniels was an avid runner and coached basketball. After teaching English at Newton-Conover High School, Daniels went to grad school and became the guidance counselor at Discovery High School.
"I viewed her more as a friend, not as a counselor, and I think that's how everybody viewed her," Abernathy said.
Students signed a banner that read the best is yet to be, a motto that Daniels lived by. They plan to deliver it to Daniels family, when they arrive from Ohio.
The district's superintendent David Stegall said they are "extremely heartbroken from the loss."
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