NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Family and friends gathered Saturday to say goodbye to a Miami Norland Senior High School teacher who was killed.
The funeral service for Kameela Russell was held at St. James Catholic Church in North Miami.
Russell's body was found in a Miami Gardens canal May 25.
Ernest Roberts, the former assistant principal at Russell's school, was arrested last week in connection with her death and charged with first-degree murder.
According to an arrest affidavit, Roberts went to the school in the early morning hours of May 20 before leaving on a school trip to Washington, D.C., and then called an employee.
Police said Roberts told the employee to open a specific cabinet in a classroom, where he would find a handwritten note and a set of keys for an Audi.
The note read: "Do you know anyone that can chop up a car? If so or make it 'disappear' take these keys. It's behind the Speedway Racetrack on 441 by County Line. Friends are gone and need it to disappear. If not leave it and I'll work it out later. Throw this note away!"
The warrant stated that the employee notified police and Russell's car was found parked behind the gas station.
Police said the employee told detectives Roberts had also called him the night Russell disappeared and told him, "I did something crazy."
According to the employee, Roberts claimed he had confronted an intruder inside his mother's home and hit the person with a baseball bat, killing that person.
Police said Roberts claimed he then wrapped the body in a tarp and dragged it through the house, leaving bloodstains behind.
Surveillance video from a neighbor's home showed Russell arriving to Roberts' house. Police said Russell was never seen leaving the home, but Roberts was seen entering her car and backing it up toward the front door of his house.
An urn containing Russell's cremated remains sat on the altar inside the church throughout the ceremony.
Students and co-workers at the school are still heartbroken by Russell's death.
"Her heart was in that school," Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said. "Her heart was with the children of our community. She was everything you would expect someone to be in our public school system. So her loss is profound, her loss is deep and it is painful for all of us."