Slain teacher's family calls for unity

Deborah Liles, 62, found dead in Panama Park carport

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Members of a family are pushing for unity in Jacksonville Saturday after their mother was found beaten to death outside her Panama Park home.

Deborah Liles, 62, was found dead of multiple injuries Thursday in the carport of her home on East 59th Street, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Police said they don't know when Liles was last seen alive, but they are investigating her death as a murder and they are searching for her car -- a pale gold 2010 Buick LaCrosse with license number 275-LLJ -- which is believed to have been stolen.

“What are we going to tell the children?” Liles’ daughter Dana Standridge said. “It's already terrible, but I feel like if we could at least come to a place where they are found, and I can say, ‘but the bad guys do get caught.”’

The family members said they are very passionate about change in Jacksonville relating to the murder rate. They all believe people should look at the loss of life more seriously.

“The world just got a lot scarier -- a lot scarier,” Standridge said. “I don't know how I'm going to sleep at night anymore, and I'm an adult. For my children, who are home with their sweet dad, they're grieving. How am I going to tell them some stranger came in here and beat her to death?”

Liles’ four children are dealing with the loss of their mother in different ways. None of them knows what happened to her, and they want justice, Standridge said.

Family members said they spoke with Liles that morning and she was going to take a package to the post office for her granddaughter. That package is still there inside the home, indicating that she never made it to the post office.

“Nobody is safe. We've all got to work together and not just assume that happened because of where they lived or something that they did,” Standridge said. “It was senseless, and it could happen to anyone.”

Liles was a veteran music teacher at San Jose Elementary. There will be grief counselors at the school Monday to speak with those in need.

Anyone who sees Liles' car or has any information about her death is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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