Louisiana Assistant Principal Arrested in Death of Pregnant Colleague
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office via AP

A Louisiana parish is searching for answers after a local principal was arrested for the brutal death of his pregnant coworker.

The Washington Post reports that last week, police took Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy assistant principal Robert Marks into custody for the death of 40-year-old Lyntell Washington, his pregnant coworker. Washington was fatally shot in the head.

Marks is in police custody for first-degree murder, first-degree feticide charges, aggravated kidnapping and desertion of a child. He has refused to offer any additional information to police.

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According to police, Washington’s body was found decomposing in a ditch near Baton Rouge. Authorities had been searching for the school administrator since last week, when her 3-year-old daughter was found abandoned in a parking lot. The toddler allegedly told police that “Mr. Robbie” had possible hurt her mother, who was “sleeping” in a lake. 

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Police are investigating whether Washington and Marks were having an affair and she was pregnant with his child (a friend of Washington’s said that she had only identified the baby’s father as “Robert”). A motive has not been established yet, though officials suspect Washington might have threatened to expose their affair. Text messages show Washington accusing Marks of not taking responsibility for the child, though attorneys for Marks have denied the claims.

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“I’ll let the Baton Rouge Police Department provide the sensationalism,” Marks’ attorney, Lionel Burns, said. “I’ll let the facts come out in court.”

Washington’s family, friends and students are devastated by the murder. They remember her as a positive and selfless person who always put her students first.

“Ms. Washington was a treasured member of our team and will be remembered for the impact she had on the many lives she touched through her work in our district,” East Baton Rouge Parish superintendent Warren Drake said in a statement. “We will continue to offer support to Ms. Washington’s coworkers and students during this difficult time.”