Morales, 24, was last in contact with her family on Oct. 30 before she attended a concert, and was declared missing shortly after.
Mexican authorities have reportedly charged 28-year-old Fidel Barragan in connection with the death, and Morales’ family confirmed to Telemundo Atlanta that the pair were dating.
Barragan’s first appearance before a Mexican judge was scheduled for Friday. It is not clear if he has U.S. citizenship.
Alexandra Morales Was Vacationing in Mexico
Morales, a first grade teacher at Benefield Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Ga., was reportedly on leave from her position when she went to Mexico last month.
A friend told reporters that the 24-year-old was looking forward to visiting family and attending a concert while abroad.
But after the concert, family said they could not get in touch with Morales, and that her phone appeared to be shut off. They reported her missing to U.S. authorities soon after.
On Nov. 10, almost two full weeks since she was last in contact with friends and family back home, Mexican authorities reportedly found the 24-year-old’s body in a rental car.
No cause of death was given as of Friday, and no apparent motive has been publicly acknowledged.
Family Isn’t Sure Fidel Barragan Acted Alone
Morales’ uncle, Ostin Cuenca, told Telemundo he hopes U.S. authorities work with Mexican investigators to track down all possible leads in his niece’s death.
Cuenca also said he believes Fidel Barragan’s entire family may have been involved in her disappearance and death, though he did not explain further.
According to The Daily Beast, Morales’ father and brother traveled to Mexico this week to expatriate the 24-year-old’s body back home for her funeral.
A GoFundMe page set up by her sorority sisters to help the family handle funeral costs claims Morales had two brothers and was “adored” by her family.
School, Community is in Mourning
Friends and parents of Alexandra Morales’ students expressed their grief to local news outlets after the 24-year-old’s death was announced.
“(I) never would have thought she was going to be found dead. You don’t — you don’t expect that,” said Yessica Ortero, a classmate and friend of Morales
“I knew she was going to a concert because she had been posting about it. I don’t know, I’m still in shock. You know, it’s sad.”
Ortero said she’ll always remember Morales’ kindness.
““In school I was very, very shy. I didn’t know anybody,” she told 11Alive. She was the first one to say ‘hi, how are you?’ Super, sweet girl. So it got to me because she was the first friend I ever made at school.”
Destiny Porter, whose 9-year-old son is a former student of Morales, told reporters her children hadn’t fully internalized the loss yet.
“It’s never easy finding out that somebody in your school community has passed away, especially if they were a part of your children’s lives,” she said.
“We decided to tell the kids together as we do most things. They were a little upset. I don’t think it’s really set in yet. They have questions like anybody does.”
On the GoFundMe page, Morales’ college friends said they will “carry her memory in [their] hearts forever.”
“She had a passion for adventure and traveling around the world was her joy. She was the most caring teacher to all of her students and her first-grade babies will miss her dearly,” her friends wrote.
“She was a loyal friend to many and a proud Hermana of our sorority, Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority.”
As of Friday, the GoFundMe page had raised about $21,000 out of its $25,000 goal.