Politics & Government

N. Carolina state school board member dies after beating

RALEIGH, N.C. — The assault of State Board of Education member Kathy Taft became a homicide Tuesday when she succumbed to her injuries.

Emergency workers rushed Taft, 62, of Greenville, toWakeMed Raleigh Campus on Saturday morning after she was found at the home of tax lawyer John M. Geil who friends and neighbors have said was Taft's boyfriend.

Taft died shortly after noon, according to police spokesman Jim Sughrue. Soon after, Taft's family issued a statement of sorrow and of support for Geil, who they said was in Florida at the time of the attack.

"The family embraces and supports Kathy's longtime friend, John Geil, at whose house this vicious act took place while he was in Florida," the statement said. "John has been with the family throughout this tragic ordeal."

Taft's death brought a flurry of condolences from prominent friends.

"I am deeply saddened to hear that my dear friend Kathy Taft has passed away," said U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. "As her neighbors, friends and family will tell you, she was a dedicated member of the North Carolina community and an advocate for our children. Her loss will be deeply felt around the state."

Police have not named a suspect. Public records, such as a recording of the 911 call reporting the assault and the initial police report have not released, as is typical in similar cases.

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