Updated: Friday, 16 Apr 2010, 8:36 AM MDT
Published : Friday, 16 Apr 2010, 8:36 AM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Ellen Roth would have turned 62 on Thursday.
The Albuquerque teacher who police believe was killed by several people, including her daughter-in-law, was remembered on her birthday at Chelwood Elementary School where she taught.
"To me this is very important," said education assistant Katherine Frost.
For as long as she can, Frost will make sure her best friend is not forgotten at the school where they both worked and met. The pair met nearly 20 years ago at Chelwood Elementary.
"We we became close friends," said Frost.
Such close friends, she said, that she knew about Roth's sometimes-violent relationship with her son Bryan Roth.
"I was very much in the know of what was happening," said Frost. "So when the situation happened with her I was not surprised."
Police said Roth's daughter-in-law, Cathleen Roth, killed Ellen in her Albuquerque home with the help of two friends after Ellen told police Bryan stole her credit card nearly a year ago. Her body was found last fall buried in the Jemez Mountains. A fourth person is charged with disposing her body. Investigators said Roth died from asphyixation.
Bryan is not charged with his mother's murder. He was in jail on a probation violation at the time of her death. He is behind bars now for the charges he stole his mother's credit card, but he's asking to have those charges dropped. A judge earlier this year threw out his mother's statement to police that Bryan stole her credit card. The judge said it can't be used because she can't be cross-examined. Bryan also claims police did not properly read him his rights before he admitted to using his mother's credit card with his wife.
"I knew somewhere in my heart down the road that it would happen because I even said to her I need a key to your home," said Frost.
It was Frost who first discovered Ellen Roth was missing. On Thursday, on what would've been her best friend's birthday Frost spent in honoring the reading teacher's memory by making sure every student got a book.
"I've been having a really hard time this week," Frost said. "You know healing takes time and I'll get there."