|“Angel” Simmons Lindle|
A Ninety Six, S.C., middle school teacher, who was arrested in February on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, was found dead today from an apparent self-inflicted single gunshot wound.
Sheriff Tony Davis confirmed to the Greenwood County Index-Journal that Angela “Angel” Simmons Lindle, 37, died at 12:20 p.m. She was, said a spokeswoman, dead when deputies arrived on the scene.
Lindle, a science teacher at Edgewood Middle School, was arrested on Feb. 20, 2009, following a one-day investigation after authorities were contacted about the alleged relationship.
“The victim’s complaint went through the Ninety Six Police Department (Thursday) night,” Davis told the Index-Journal. “We started our investigation early Friday morning, checking a number of things. We obtained a search warrant and went to the suspect’s residence and gathered a few items there.
“The victim, who was 14 at the time but is 15 now, told us of numerous incidents between he and the suspect.”
The night before her arrest, apparently aware of the investigation, Lindle posted a message to her Facebook page: “Angel is good-bye to everyone. Angel is very sad. Everything is over for her and I really mean everything all because of a lie. If anyone that had any sense heard it they would know it was not true.”
According to warrants, Lindle admitted to the sexual relationship with the student that lasted from August 2008 to mid-February. Police say the pair had their encounters at motels, Lindle’s home and in parked vehicles in both Greenwood and McCormick Counties. While charged with only the seven counts to which she is said to have admitted, Lindle was accused of as many as 50.
“We removed several items from her clothes, which confirm that there was some activity going on,” said Major John Murray, of the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office.
The fact Lindle’s alleged crimes occurred in two different jurisdictions raised the possibility of additional charges, said Davis at the time of her arrest.
According to reports, the boy who had the sexual relatinship with the teacher told deputies she had threatened to commit suicide if he broke off their relationship.
Lindle, who had been on medical leave since September and who was suspended by the school district pending her case’s outcome, was released on March 5 after a judge reduced her bond from $126,000 to a $75,000 cash surety bond. She was required to be monitored electronically while free.
It has not yet been reported how the authorities were alerted to Lindle’s death today or if the electronic monitor she wore played any role in their being dispatched to her home.
“Our hearts go out to Mrs. Lindle and her family,” Sheriff Davis said.
Ninety Six School District 52 Superintendent Dan Powell echoed the sentiments.
“It’s a tragic situation,” Powell said. “We express our deep sympathies for this loss. It’s a real tragedy.”
Officials on-scene said they were “99 percent” positive Lindle’s death was a suicide but the cause had not yet been officially determined.