Zachary Meadors, a sixth-grade English teacher at Freedom Middle School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, apparently shot himself after being put on leave

By Harriet Sokmensuer
October 18, 2018 06:47 PM
Gwinnett County Police

A 28-year-old middle school teacher in Georgia was found dead earlier this week amid an investigation into his allegedly “inappropriate” relationship with one of his students, PEOPLE confirms.

Zachary Meadors’ body was discovered slumped over in a vehicle along a Lawrenceville highway on Wednesday night, police say. It appears he shot himself, according to authorities.

Meadors was a sixth-grade English teacher at Freedom Middle School in Stone Mountain where he had taught for two years, according to local TV station WSB. He’d been on leave without pay since Friday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

He was last seen alive on Saturday and was reported missing by his family on Monday.

They told police that he was being investigated over alleged impropriety with one of his students, according to an incident report obtained by PEOPLE, but the allegation was not further described.

WSB reports that he was being sought on charges of child molestation, computer pornography and child exploitation. His suspected victim is a 12-year-old boy, according to the station.

Police have confirmed a warrant was out for Meadors’ arrest at the time of his death, but they did not say if it was in connection to the investigation at his school.

In a letter sent home to families on Tuesday, the Freedom Middle principal described “alleged misconduct involving a teacher and students” but did not provide more details or identify Meadors by name.

Meadors had been scheduled to meet with the school district on Monday but failed to show up, according to WSB.

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Before his suicide, he was seen leaving an iPad and three letters at his family’s doorstep, the police report states.

The iPad contained a video of Meadors apologizing to his relatives, according to the report.

In one letter, he apologized for “for all the chaos he caused” in an unidentified person’s life, the report shows. In another, he told his family how much they loved him and “apologized for he image they may have of him now.”

The final letter asked for his finances to be split equally between his immediate family and two people whose names were redacted.

Additional details of the investigation were not immediately available and PEOPLE could not reach district officials for comment.

In a statement to WSB before Meadors was found dead, the district superintendent said school police were investigating the allegations, which were not described more

“We are angered and disappointed to learn of the allegations facing one of our staff members at Freedom MS,” the superintendent said, in part. “The safety of our students is a top priority, and we are determined to protect them, under any circumstances, from harm.”