Counselors will be at North today after teacher found dead at Lake Jax

By Gary Scott on October 9, 2014 at 5:46am

Additional staff will be at North Elementary School today to help students cope with the tragic loss of a teacher.

Twenty-eight-year-old Casey McDaniel of rural Jacksonville was a four-year sixth grade teacher at North. McDaniel was found dead in Lake Jacksonville at the 4H Club Grounds at around 9 a-m yesterday, according to Morgan County Coroner Jeff Lair.

McDaniel’s body was found several hundred feet from a dock. An apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head was discovered when his body was recovered. A small-caliber gun was found in the water next to the dock.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says school counselors, psychologists and social workers will be available at North today to help students deal with the loss.

McDaniel was the caretaker of the 4H Club and lived there, and some notes to his family were found at the residence, according to Lair.

Ptacek notes other students who may have interacted with him in his capacity as camp counselor may also be going through the grieving process.

District 117 schools have a half-day today and are off tomorrow and Monday.

An autopsy for Casey McDaniel is scheduled for today at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. Funeral arrangements are pending at Williamson Funeral Home in Jacksonville.