Cameron County Sheriff's Department deputies are investigating the death of a third grade teacher with the Rio Hondo Independent School District.
Sheriff Omar Lucio told Action 4 News that a deputy found the body teacher Sonia Perez along FM 1846 and Robles Road around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
In a Friday morning press conference, Lucio said that a suspect has not been identified or arrested.
Rio Hondo ISD confirmed that Perez was a third grade teacher at the Rio Hondo Intermediate School off South Reynolds Street.
Sheriff Lucio told Action 4 News that a deputy spotted Perez's Ford Astro Van along FM 1846 and Robles Road between San Benito and Rio Hondo.
Lucio said the headlights had been left on, so the deputy went in for a closer look and found Perez's body slumped over the seat belt.
The sheriff said Perez had gunshot wounds to her head and ribs and there were signs of a struggle.
Deputies conducted a full crime scene investigation overnight while authorities ordered an autopsy to learn more about Perez's death.
Sheriff Lucio said no suspects have been identified or arrested in the case.
Lucio said Perez's husband is a pastor at a church outside of San Benito.
The sheriff said deputies have no information about marital problems and no information that would make Perez's husband as a suspect.
School District Reaction
Rio Hondo ISD Superintendent Anneliese McMinn spoke to Action 4 News about Perez's death.
Superintendent McMinn said Perez had only been a teacher with the school district for a year but had already established herself and become loved by students and staff.
McMinn said Perez's death is a terrible tragedy that has affected many people both th e
"She was a very loved teacher," McMinn said. "It's very tragic. Nobody can believe this."
Superintendent McMinn said school district officials notified the parents of Perez's 21 students early Friday morning.
The school district gave parents the option to keep their children home for a day.
McMinn said only about half of Perez's students came to class on Friday morning where a substitute teacher had taken over.
News of Perez's death spread quickly on the Rio Hondo Bobcats Facebook page and other social media outlets.
Superintendent McMinn said she was at Rio Hondo Intermediate School on Friday morning where extra counselors have been made available for students, parents and staff.
McMinn said the school district is giving its condolences to Perez's family.School District Statement
The Rio Hondo Independent School District has suffered a great loss due to the devastating events regarding the recent death of one of our third grade teachers, Ms. Sonia Perez.
Ms. Perez was a devoted teacher dedicated to her students and was well-loved by the Rio Hondo Intermediate staff. Counselors are available to assist students, staff, and parents that have been affected by this loss.
Rio Hondo ISD school board, administration and staff send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this beloved teacher.
Mrs. McMinn, Superintendent