Cheshire High School mourns beloved teacher

CHESHIRE -- Connecticut State Police identified the woman whose body was discovered Wednesday night near a bridge in Cheshire.

State police said the body was identified as 48-year-old Cheshire High School teacher Megumi Yamamoto, who lived within a half mile of the spot she was discovered in.

Police would not say earlier in the day if this death is criminal in nature. However, one thing is certain: Yamamoto, was well-respected in the town.

Policed canvassed Mixville Road and Notch Road Thursday asking residents if they saw or heard anything out of the ordinary Wednesday afternoon or evening.

"It’s pretty scary," said Christina Giorgio, who lives on Mixville Road. "Actually, I just moved here from New Mexico. So, it’s supposed to be a quiet neighborhood."

At 5:17 pm Wednesday, Cheshire police responded to a report of a missing person in the area of Marion Rd. and Mixville Rd.

"A body was found nearby the area of the complaint," said Trooper Josue Tpr. Josue Dorelus, of the CT State Police.

A short time after the 911 call came in, the body of Yamamoto was discovered by a responding Cheshire pPolice officer, in the area of a bridge, which sits on Marion Road.

"Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crimes detectives have assumed the investigation and will be working in conjunction with the Cheshire Police Department and the Medical Examiners Office," Dorelus said.

Friends and students remember Yamamoto as a positive presence in school and in their lives.

“She was just different. She saw people more than other people saw people,” said her neighbor and friend, Bridget Boucaud. “I think she connected with people in such a way as to heart level.”

Students told Fox61 Thursday’s classes could only be described as grim. Passing between classes, students say it was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.

Grievance counselors and therapy dogs will be available for students and staff for the next several days as they deal with their loss.

Thursday morning, the Cheshire Superintendent of Schools notified parents that the Yamamoto, the Chairwoman of the Cheshire High School English Department, had died unexpectedly last night. This following is the letter parents received:

Megumi Yamamoto

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Cheshire High School lost a friend, parent, and colleague in Megumi Yamamoto last night.  Megumi, a teacher in our English Department was a former Cheshire Teacher of the Year. Understandably, after hearing this deeply unsettling news, Cheshire High School and our entire school community are grieving.  An Advisory period was held this morning to share this news with our students in a more personal setting. The following information was shared with our students:

You may have heard by now that one of our teachers, Ms. Yamamoto passed away unexpectedly yesterday.  Details about how she passed have not been made available yet. You may have known Ms. Yamamoto or her family.  This news will affect everyone differently. We know social media is a tool for communication and some turn to social media in times of grief. Social media is public. Please be sensitive to the family and friends of Ms. Yamamoto and be reminded that rumor and speculation are hurtful and inappropriate at this time. It is important to us that you have the opportunity to process this in a way that works for you.  It is absolutely normal to experience a range of emotions based on your relationships and personal experiences. There is no “right way” to experience grief and loss. Please know that our school counseling department is making themselves available if you want to talk about this or simply be with others who are processing Ms. Yamamoto’s passing. Additionally, we will have grief counselors from Cheshire Social Services and therapy animals available at different points over the next several days. My thoughts go out to our school community. Please rise for a moment of silence.

As was shared with our students, everyone experiences grief and loss differently.  We encourage parents to talk to their children about Ms. Yamamoto’s death and to continue to monitor your child/children.

It is incredibly painful to lose a member of our school family.  We are grateful that our community can lean on one another for support and that our extended community has made themselves available in this challenging time.  I know you will join us in keeping Ms. Yamamoto’s family in your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey F. Solan
Superintendent of Schools