UPDATE: Sheriff's say oilfield workers found Mark Lampman in field in West Odessa.
Ector County Medical Examiner Dr. Anne Acreman confirmed that Permian High School teacher Mark Lampman, 47, died on Wednesday afternoon after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Oilfield workers found Lampman at Oxy Permian Lease Road, north of Highway 158 and FM 1936 in West Odessa. Ector County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call of a "possible unattended death" at 2:55 p.m. Wednesday in the area, and upon arrival they found a deceased white man, later identified as Lampman, according to a news release.
His body is being transported to Tarrant County for an autopsy, Acreman said, which could reveal more details surrounding his death.
Lampman was found dead by Ector County Sheriff's deputies in an open field in West Odessa one day after he resigned from his job amid allegations of a relationship with a student, according to numerous sources with information on the case.
Police scanner traffic announced around 9 p.m. Wednesday that the search for Lampman was being called off.
On a Facebook page called "Memories of Mark Lampman" a family spokeswoman said an account has been set up at West Texas Educators Credit Union in Odessa for donations in-lieu of flowers. Donations will help with expenses and to help his daughters' future; the name is under Mark Lampman.
He resigned Tuesday afternoon after questioning about an accusation of an improper relationship with a female student was made to school authorities, according to the Ector County Independent School District.
On Wednesday, ECISD police announced they were leading the criminal investigation into Lampman, who taught government and was an assistant golf coach at Permian. He has been a teacher with ECISD for 17 years, according to the district.
Spokesman Mike Adkins said in the second news release that ECISD will not release any information on the student involved. Superintendent Tom Crowe said the district will not comment because she’s a minor.
At 10 p.m. Wednesday, ECISD released this statement:
"Our ECISD family is deeply saddened by the events that unfolded today. The remaining days and weeks of the school year will be very difficult at Permian High School. In an immediate response there will be crisis counselors available to all students and faculty members tomorrow and Friday.
"We know and understand emotions are raw, and we have seen a number of very inappropriate and hateful posts to social media sites this evening. Out of respect for the families involved in this tragedy, we are urging everyone to remove all angry messages from all accounts and refrain from posting any more. This type of dialogue is not helpful, nor is it healing.
"We consider ourselves part of the same team – the same family – and we must work together to get through a difficult time like this."
On Wednesday afternoon, Crowe spoke to the faculty at Permian.
“I told them, we believe in you. We support you, the board supports you. What you do, 99.9 percent are in it for the right reasons,” Crowe said. He said he wants the community to understand there is really good work by outstanding staff at ECISD and at Permian.
Crowe did take a different tone in talking about the teachers who put ECISD in a bad light.
“I did tell (Permian staff) when we get reports like this we’re going to investigate them. And if they are true… I’ll work with the prosecutors to carry it to the full extent of the law,” Crowe said.
The accusation follows a recent spate of cases involving allegations of ECISD employees having improper sexual relationships with students at Permian.
“Another allegation of this sort is alarming and disappointing,” Adkins said in a statement. “The school district provides training to address this issue each year, and we plan more in the future. Our teachers are hired to teach, support, and inspire our students to great achievement and it is unacceptable to an educator to cross the line from professional to personal relationship. We are glad these allegations are being reported, and we investigate every report that comes to us. We will do everything in our power to address this immediately.”
Alisha Carrasco Knighten, a P.E. coach at Bonham Junior High and an assistant softball coach at Permian High School, resigned last week amid an investigation of a possible improper relationship with a Permian student.
Carrasco Knighten was placed on paid administrative leave last Monday. Her resignation was effective immediately last Wednesday, Adkins said.
She was the fourth female employee from Permian in about a year to resign while being investigated of an alleged improper relationship between an employee and a student.
In April 2013, Kathryn Maples and April Collins resigned and were eventually indicted in the second-degree felony. Another Permian employee resigned in April 2014 amid allegations by parents and students to ECISD police of a relationship.
An Ector County grand jury has indicted Collins and Maples on charges of an improper relationship between educator and student (Maples on three counts; Collins on four counts including sending sexually explicit pictures and online solicitation of a student), a second-degree felony and could carry between two and 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Maples was arrested on June 12 and Collins was arrested on June 17.
No trial date has been set for either case, according to documents in the 244th District Court where the women were previously arraigned.