LEESBURG, Fla. – Rubye Harrison James, 92, dedicated decades to teaching in Sumter County. She started her career as a teacher in 1967 and continued until she retired in 2002 when she was 78 years old.
School officials said she taught at several schools in the county, including Webster Elementary School, Wildwood Middle School and even the former Dabney Elementary School in Lake County.
The location where Dabney Elementary once stood is just around the corner from where the retired teacher was found dead Wednesday night, her body buried in a shallow grave about 5 miles from her Leesburg home.
Deputies said she was last seen Monday night and they found her home in disarray when a neighbor called for a welfare check.
Thursday afternoon, deputies confirmed they were now investigating a murder, but on Friday wouldn't say how she died or give News 6 much on what they have discovered thus far.
"Right now, we are just not releasing a whole lot of information about her injuries and that's obviously because detectives are working hard to locate a suspect and talk to them," Lake County Sheriff's Lt. John Herrell said.
However, Herrell did say the entire homicide unit is on the case. It's made up of about a half dozen detectives who all met Friday morning to start sifting through the Crimeline tips that continue to come in.
This as the Sumter County school superintendent released a statement on losing this lifelong teacher:
“As you may have seen in the news, the Sumter School District has tragically lost a longtime friend of education due to an appalling incident of violence. Rubye James was a longtime educator in Sumter County, successfully teaching in several schools throughout the district beginning in 1967 with a well-deserved retirement is 2002. We are always saddened by the loss of a longtime friend and dedicated educator of our children, but even more so due to the heart-rending circumstances surrounding her passing -- an apparent homicide. Our prayers are with the family, friends and many students touched by her decades of dedication to educating children.”