Aiken authorities look for leads in teacher's stabbing

Special
Ann Fox Smith: Kennedy Middle School teacher had worked in special education for more than 20 years.

Authorities ruled the death of a Kennedy Middle School special education teacher a homicide Saturday, saying preliminary autopsy results showed she had been stabbed multiple times.

Police said they had no suspects or leads in the case, and those in the community who knew Ann Fox Smith, 47, said they were still searching for answers.

"We're all affected. It's a great loss," said Pat Silva, Aiken County's director of special education, who had known Mrs. Smith for 18 years. "This is devastating to a school and a family."

Authorities have said it appears Mrs. Smith died Friday morning.

When she didn't show up for school that morning, co-workers went to her home and found her body. There were no signs of forced entry.

"She was a wonderful woman. We'll all miss her," her son, Wilson, said at his father's home Saturday.

Mrs. Smith, of the 900 block of Whitney Drive, was separated from her husband, Wilson Smith, and they lived in separate homes, said Aiken Public Safety Lt. David Turno.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said in a news release Saturday that evidence will be sent to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to be analyzed.

Mrs. Smith had taught special education to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Kennedy for the past 18 years. She had been a special education teacher for more than 20 years, Ms. Silva said.

A crisis intervention team was on hand at Kennedy Middle on Friday afternoon to help teachers cope with the news of Mrs. Smith's death, said David Caver, Aiken County's deputy superintendent.

"They were basically speechless," Ms. Silva said. "Nobody knew how or why or anything else. It was an unbelievable situation."

Neighboring schools will assist Kennedy Middle counselors Monday morning with grief counseling for pupils, Mr. Caver said.

Mrs. Smith worked with resource and hearing-impaired students and loved children, Ms. Silva said. A native of Atlanta, she was active in the Aiken Debutante Society and the Cotillion Club and had lived in Aiken since 1988.

She leaves behind three children -- a son and daughter in college and a son at South Aiken High School, Ms. Silva said.

A memorial service has been set for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Millbrook Baptist Church, with interment set for 11 a.m. Wednesday in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.