GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) – Wednesday was a very difficult day for teachers, students and parents at O. Henry Elementary School in Garland. There the flag is flying at half-staff in memory of teacher Emily Lambert.

Police say Lambert, a 30-year-old teacher and mother of two, was murdered in New Mexico.

Lambert dropped off her daughters at her parents last week. Lambert’s father said he was expecting his daughter back on Sunday. She never arrived.

Instead, her boyfriend, Robert Earley, reported her missing in Carlsbad, New Mexico, where she had gone to visit him.

Lambert’s ex-husband, Donovan Lambert, was part of a search party, planning a trip to Carlsbad this weekend to hand out missing person fliers. “We had everything set up,” he said. “We were going to find her.”

Worried family told police the mother and teacher was never without her phone and never out of touch for long.

Of his ex-wife Donovan Lambert said, “She was fantastic mother. Her spark and zest for life was in everything she did.”

Meanwhile, police in New Mexico questioned Earley who they say changed his story repeatedly. It was Tuesday when officials say Earley finally lead detectives to Lambert’s body.

According to a police report, Earley confessed to beating Lambert unconscious, tying a rope around her throat and other horrific things family and friends find difficult to comprehend.

Henry Elementary principal Glenda Howell said, “She’s a part of our family. So when part of your family has been lost its very disheartening and very impactful.”

At O. Henry Elementary parents and staff spoke highly of the third-grade teacher. One mother said Lambert was, “Funny and real smart, and a very, very pretty and vibrant lady.”

It was that sense of humor that years ago lead Lambert’s classmates to label her class clown. Now those friends are in mourning. Teacher Monica Alford said, “She brought light to everybody everywhere she went… nothing but friends. She didn’t meet any strangers.”

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