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N.C. school board member was assaulted

Raleigh police say that a member of the state Board of Education found seriously injured inside a home Saturday morning had been assaulted. Police canvassed the neighborhood Sunday, asking residents if they had seen anything suspicious.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A member of the state Board of Education found seriously injured inside a Raleigh home Saturday morning had been assaulted, police said Sunday.

Kathy A. Taft, 62, who lives in Greenville, was being treated at WakeMed's intensive care unit.

Police spent Sunday canvassing the neighborhood where Taft was found inside the home at 2710 Cartier Drive, near Oberlin Road and Glenwood Avenue. Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby also visited the crime scene.

“This is a quiet neighborhood. That’s basically why I’ve been here. This is the first time that I know of that (anything) has really happened,” neighbor Ron Harris said.

Officers went door-to-door Saturday and Sunday asking residents if they saw or heard anything suspicious.

“They really just asked us where we were, if we saw anybody, anything unusual walking the streets,” neighbor George Ellis said.

Police also looked for evidence in Glenwood Village, a shopping plaza behind the house. A Harris Teeter grocery store, coffee shop, Glenwood Grill restaurant, upscale condo community and other retail stores are in the shopping center.

Relatives and neighbors said that Taft's sister found her inside the home after she missed a planned breakfast date.

Taft's neighbors in Greenville were stunned to hear what happened.

“We were all just devastated, shocked, saddened,” Taft's neighbor Mary McConnell said.

Taft's relatives said that John Geil, who is listed as the owner of the house, was in Florida last night and is 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.

Taft’s term with the Board of Education expires in March 2011. She ran for state Senate in 2008.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said that the board's thoughts and prayers are with Taft and her family and that they "look forward to her being back with us shortly."

"Kathy has been an outstanding board member, serving longer than any member presently serving," Harrison said in a statement Sunday. "I first met her as a local superintendent years ago and was always impressed by her thoughtful approach to the work of the board."

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