Merced teacher stabbed to death, husband in critical condition

MERCED, Calif.

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Merced Police and other emergency workers rushed to a home on Tioga Court Thursday morning after someone called 9-1-1 to report one person had been stabbed and another was floating in the swimming pool.

Victim's neighbor, Paula Egger said, "We just woke up to the dogs barking, looked outside, there's a fire truck, two ambulances, four police cars, didn't know what was going on."

Officers found 44-year-old Diane Romero dead in the pool and her 41-year-old husband in the backyard in critical condition. Both had been stabbed. Neighbors say their two teenage sons were home at the time, but they were not hurt.

"We do not believe this is a home invasion," said Lt. Andre Matthews. "But the investigation is ongoing to determine exactly what the facts are so we can tell what happened here."

Investigators say the husband is a school bus driver for the Merced Union High School District, and his wife Diane was a third grade teacher at Peterson Elementary School who had been with the Merced City School District for 19 years.

"It's a tragedy. I think it's devastating, if you looked at the staff that's been around her every day, there's lots of tears this morning," said Greg Spicer.

The school district immediately notified staff members, but they chose not to tell students what happened so their parents could discuss it with them first. The school sent home sealed notes and placed automated phone calls with some suggestions for how to help their children cope with this tragedy.

Spicer explains, "Mainly we want them to send the message that the kids are safe at school, they're safe coming to school and we're here to help them if there's a need."

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