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Former Woden High School teacher arrested on two counts of indecency with a child

Woden, Texas (KETK) - A Nacogdoches County woman has been arrested and charged with two counts of an improper relationship between a teacher and a student and two counts of indecency with a child.

All according to reports from the Nacogdoches Sheriffs Department.

In early January a Woden High School teacher resigned after authorities say she exchanged text messages with a student.

Though the texts were not seen by the district at that point, and it was unknown if the messages contained anything improper, this was still a violation of Woden ISD board policy.

Superintendent Brady Taylor sensed something was wrong and dug deeper. 

"We wanted to make sure that nothing else had happened, any criminal activity, we had no evidence of that but we wanted to make sure," said Brady Taylor, Woden ISD Superintendent.

But with Woden ISD's limited resources the investigation was turned over to the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office.

"(Taylor) just felt in his gut that there was probably something more to it than what they had found," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges.

And it turns out Taylor's gut feeling was right.

"Through that investigation we found evidence to link that the teacher was having inappropriate student relation contact with students there at Woden ISD," said Sheriff Bridges.

The Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant for the former teacher's phone.

They searched through thousands of text messages before finding a few hundred text messages, and few photos, from the teacher and two victims.

Kelly Searles, 45, was arrested and booked into the Nacogdoches County jail leaving the little town in shock.

"I couldn't believe that it happened at Woden. Woden is a small school and stuff doesn't happen like that around Woden," said Leslie Garrett, parent of a Woden High School student.

Garrett says Woden ISD is a good district and despite this incident she still believes that to be true.

"I still trust the school, that's just one teacher that's gone," she said.

Taylor says he hopes the rest of the community feels the same way, and they can get move on from this incident.

"I feel like we, as a district, did what was necessary," said Taylor. "I do not like the situation however it was handled the best way Woden ISD could do."

Searles posted bond on Monday and was released.


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