Aiken, SC -- For the past 18 years, Ann Fox Smith dedicated part of her life to helping special needs children at Kennedy Middle School. It was unlike her to miss work. When she didn't show up on Friday, a friend went to her house. That's where investigators say they found her dead.
Lt. David Turno, Aiken Department Of Public Safety: "They're looking at everything. You know this is a very quiet street where this incident occurred on. You know, very uncommon for that area. It's just, we don't know where this investigation is going to take us, right now."
The Aiken Department of Public Safety and the Aiken County Sheriff's Office are trying to put the pieces together. While the evidence is scarce, investigators say there was no forced entry, and no weapon found at the crime scene. Lieutenant Turno says that every homicide is hard to hear about, especially someone who had such an influence in the community.
Lt. Turno: "Well, it's certainly a tragedy...you know, for the school system, for the children that have been affected, and for her family and friends. I mean, certainly you don't want to see anyone murdered, but it is maybe difficult for someone like that, that cared so much."
Many of Smith's co-workers say she was fun loving, and always knew how to have a good time. But most importantly, she had a big heart for the children she helped.
Julie Hawkins, Aiken Middle School Special Education teacher: "It's going to devastate them...children that love their teacher. A Special Ed teacher, I think, many times replaces a parent or a grandparent."
Julie Hawkins knows what it takes to be that kind of teacher...she's also a Special Education teacher, and knows their important role in schools.
Julie Hawkins: "What a loss it is because Special Ed is such a special and dedicated field that, if we've lost a dedicated caring teacher, it's a terrible, terrible thing that this has happened."
While the community has a lost a member of their family, many of the memories she left behind in the children's lives that she touched will never be forgotten.
Smith is survived by her husband, Wilson Smith, and 3 children. She was also very active in her school. Investigators say there are no suspects, but are still in the process of questioning family and friends.