AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A teacher of missing Augusta teen LaTania Carwell came forward to share more about the life of her student and some chilling news during the final days she was last seen.
Lori Myles told NewsChannel 6 LaTania is an A student. Myles sat down with me exclusively to talk about LaTania, a student who sat in her English-Language Arts class for two years until the very last day anyone saw the teen.
“She was one of those front row students,” Myles described.
Eyes around the country are on LaTania’s photos and they are being shared constantly. Carwell was allegedly kidnapped from her Augusta home in the Terrace Manor neighborhood by her stepfather, 38-year-old Leon Tripp. Tripp married Carwell’s mother, 35-year-old Tanya Carwell Tripp while he was in prison in the Atlanta area.
Last week, NewsChannel 6 flipped through the T.W. Josey Comprehensive High School yearbooks where the 16-year-old is listed with photos.
“Not only should we say the student’s best friend she’s a teacher’s best friend,” Myles said to describe Carwell. “You want me to run this off? You want me to do this?”
LaTania Carwell took English-Language Arts at Josey with Lori Myles both freshman and sophomore years. Myles called the teen academically inclined, looking into law or teaching fields, but said she was open to other careers too.
“She was on the front page of the Augusta Chronicle on February 2, which is National Job Shadow/Groundhog Day,” she recalled. “She was there with Dr. Nussbaum of ASU, head of Ophthalmology. She was there with him and others, all of her best friends, her circle.”
Her teacher also told us there are no known boyfriends despite being liked by many. But she does remember teaching LaTania the day before Good Friday.
“She made sure on this day that she came to me and said you know my birthday is coming?’ And of course everyone said ok are you going to wear a dollar? Not only did she tell us her birthday was coming and she was ready to celebrate, but some other things were happening,” she said.
Myles said that Thursday the class had a small party for a student who was leaving the area and that’s when LaTania told the class her news.
“She just said that it’s my birthday and we’re talking about moving too like our other student,” said Myles.
No location was given, but Myles said the teen’s demeanor changed prior to her disappearance.
“Her circle of friends kind of changed,” she remembered. “She kind of moved from the front to the back, completely to the back to the point where a few days earlier I actually brought her up to the front and said that’s not you. Why are you changing?”
Myles says LaTania moved back to the front of the class and overall, she is an excellent student. And if anyone sees the missing teen, you may see a quiet, peaceful child.
“Through her innocence, yet her strength, believe me when LaTania gets the opportunity she will try to contact someone so she can get home. This girl believes in family. She believes in school,” Myles said.
Myles says LaTania never spoke of any trouble at home because she was not a complainer.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins