Special-ed teacher slain

first_img“She loved her family, she loved the church and, more importantly, she loved God and she had a relationship with him. “She was a huge blessing to our church and we’re going to miss her.” Clary’s husband, David, told authorities he found his wife’s body about 5:20 p.m. Thursday, inside their home on a quiet cul-de-sac in the 29900 block of Shadow Place. Authorities said their initial investigation indicated that Clary died of blunt-force trauma, and they consider her death a homicide. At Valencia High, Clary taught about 20 students, most of whom were developmentally disabled. Wanting them to learn to live independently, she taught them how to order a meal at a fast-food restaurant and ride a bus. CASTAIC – Committed to her special-education students at Valencia High School, LaWana Clary took them out into the community twice a week, teaching them to function on their own. Devoted to God, she was active at First Baptist Church of Castaic, attending services with her husband three times a week. But three days before Easter, the 51-year-old veteran educator was found bludgeoned to death inside her home. Her husband found her body when he returned from work. “If I could sum LaWana’s life up, she was a very faithful lady,” the Rev. Jeff Craig of First Baptist Church said Friday, as he mourned his parishioner. “My son loved her; he absolutely adored her,” said John Krinkel, whose 18-year-old son, Jeffrey, was in Clary’s class. “She had a tremendous relationship with the students in her classroom.” In the classroom, Clary taught everything from math to social studies – all to her students’ level. “She just felt she had a calling for it,” said Paul Priesz, principal at Valencia High. “That was the group of students she wanted to work with. Not every teacher can do that.” Clary’s neighbors in the five-year-old development said the couple kept to themselves, but had dogs that barked. But a neighbor said the dogs were not barking Thursday, and she saw no sign of commotion until sheriff’s deputies arrived. “I was here all day,” said Danielle Lincoln, who lives across the street. “I didn’t hear anything.” On an Internet site dedicated to rescued dogs, Dave and LaWana Clary are listed as the owners of a dog named Bear. The couple apparently created a Web site a few years ago dedicated to their pet. Alice Lee, 31, is a new resident who was just moving in this week, and she never got a chance to know Clary. “Looking at that house, it just looks so idyllic,” she said. “… I can’t believe anything happened behind those walls.” A couple of cars were parked in the driveway at the Clary home Friday, but Lincoln said another vehicle was towed away during the investigation. David Clary, 38, works with computers, said Craig, who last spoke to the couple at Wednesday services at First Baptist. “LaWana, her and Dave, were fun-loving people, and we were always kidding one another,” he said. Valencia High is due to resume classes after spring break Monday. A school yearbook included a quote from Clary on what teaching meant to her. “For the most part, my students really want to learn,” she wrote. “You can never replace the look on their face when they finally `get it.”‘ [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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