Former Woden Teacher Charged with Improper Relationships
A former Woden ISD teacher has been arrested on four felony charges due to allegedly having improper relationship with students.
According to a release from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Jason Bridges was contacted by the superintendent of Woden ISD in January about concerns he had of a teacher that had been texting a student. Woden ISD became aware of allegations that a WISD teacher was exchanging text messages with a student, which in this case, was a violation of Woden ISD Board policy, regardless of the content of the communications. A full investigation was immediately launched with cooperation from the student, parents, and educator. In the investigation, no sexual contact between the educator and student was found. The teacher resigned immediately due to the violation of school district policies.
Superintendent Taylor wanted to make sure that there was not any more to this matter than what the school had found and requested the Sheriff's Office to conduct an investigation into these matters.
On January 12, 2018, the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office launched an official investigation on Kelly Searles. The Sheriff's Office identified possible victims and witnesses in the investigation, but they were hesitant to speak with law enforcement. Sheriff investigators received enough information in the investigation to have probable cause to seize the phone of the suspect.
The Sheriff Office obtained a search warrant for the cell phone of the suspect to analyze all data on the phone. With the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety, investigators obtained evidence from the phone that clearly showed that the suspect had previous relationships with two students.
The victims were identified by law enforcement and forensic interviews were conducted with both victims at the Harold’s House in Nacogdoches. After analyzing hundreds of texts messages, pictures and other information, law enforcement obtained warrants for the suspect’s arrest.
Kelly Searles, 45, was arrested around Monday morning (2/12/18) at her residence and booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail. She has been charged with two counts of improper relationship between educator and student and two counts of Indecency with a child. All charges are 2nd degree felonies.
The Sheriff Office would like to recognize Woden ISD for their prompt action in this case. Due to their due diligence, law enforcement was able to recover key evidence in the case in a timely manner. We would also like to thank the Texas department of Public Safety for their assistance in this investigation.