Local News

N.C. school board member in 'grave' condition after assault

Posted March 8, 2010 5:43 a.m. EST
Updated March 8, 2010 11:21 p.m. EST

— Police continued to investigate Monday for a third day in the Raleigh neighborhood where a state Board of Education member was found brutally attacked in a home.

Close family friends said that Kathy Taft, 62, suffered a severe head injury and was on life support at WakeMed's intensive care unit. She was in critical condition Monday evening, and her prognosis was "grave," they said.

Hospital staff haven't released information on her status.

Gov. Beverly Perdue visited Taft's family at the hospital Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said.

Taft has the longest tenure of any current member of the state education board. She also ran for state Senate in 2008.

Police haven't released many details of the ongoing investigation since Taft, who lives in Greenville, was found Saturday morning inside the home at 2710 Cartier Drive, near Oberlin Road and Glenwood Avenue. They haven't determined if the assault was a random act of violence.

Political consultant Brad Crone, who has worked with Taft, said Monday evening that he’s in disbelief.

“This is such a tragic and sad story," he said. "There are so many questions that are still out there remaining to be answered."

Cartier Drive remained blocked off Monday, with only residents allowed access. A wooded area behind the home was cordoned off with crime-scene tape, and K-9 units searched a wooded area at the end of the street opposite from where Taft was found. Investigators also were still interviewing people, police said.

Residents expressed frustration over the lack of information, but most said they were glad police were taking the case seriously.

“Something really big happened at my neighbor's house, and I don't even know what is going on,” neighbor Craig Thompson said.

"It'd be a worse sign if they were here for a day and then gone," neighbor Lloyd Goode said. "They are obviously trying to find out what did happen, and that's a good thing."

Relatives and neighbors said that Taft often stayed at the house, which belongs to a friend, while she was in town for state Board of Education business. They said her sister found her inside the home after she missed a planned breakfast date Saturday.

Taft's relatives said John Geil, who is listed as the owner of the house, was in Florida Saturday night and was flying back. The pair had dated in the past, they said.

Anyone with information that might help police detectives was asked to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP. The number is staffed throughout day, and Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that helps solve the case.

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