Bloomington High School staff and students are grappling with shock, after a well-liked Spanish teacher at the school was taken into custody Oct. 16 on murder charges.
“This is not the kind of crisis that you might think of when you plan for crisis events,” Bloomington Public School District 87 superintendent Dr. Barry Reilly said. “This is unprecedented and some things have yet to sink in for some. This is not something you expect. You might hear or read about it from somewhere else, but it happened here in this community.”
Sarah Kelch Mellor, 30, remained in custody Oct. 22 at the Woodford County Jail on charges of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of her husband, Mark Mellor. Bond is set for $1 million pending a Nov. 3 court appearance.
According to Woodford County court records, Mellor has retained criminal defense attorney Stephanie M. Wong of Bloomington.
Little is yet known about the circumstances that led to the stabbing death of Mark Mellor at private campsite outside Carlock in rural Woodford County. The couple was reportedly arguing that night.
Mark Mellor was transported from the campsite by unspecified family members just before midnight, and was pronounced dead at Normal’s BroMenn Regional Medical Center at 12:15 a.m., seven minutes after he arrived.
McClean County Coroner Dr. Kathy Davis determined Mark’s death was due to a stab wound to the chest. The Woodford County State’s Attorney’s Office said the type of weapon used is a hunting survival knife.
“It’s a shock for all of us; the board, to the district, to staff to parents and students,” Reilly said, “It’s extremely shocking and sad news. Some staff members and kids have struggled with this we’ll continue provide counseling on a case to case basis.”
Sarah Mellor taught at BHS for eight years, earning a masters of education from Illinois State University in 2015. That year, Mellor co-coordinated to obtained grant money for the BHS Raiders 101 program, a two-week freshman acclimation program.
Mark Mellor’s family described him being connected to nature, a person who would have enjoyed life if born in an earlier era. “He would have been very happy living on the frontier, toiling to survive as one with nature,” a family member posted on Facebook.
Mark and Sarah Mellor appear to have shared a passion for outdoor activities and travel, and much of the conversation on social networking sites, such as Facebook, show sympathy to both.
“They were both really great people who would take the shirt off their back for you,” wrote one relative. “No one could of (sic) ever predicted this could happen. So much confusion.”
A BHS student posted on Sarah’s page, “ I wanna say something first off she was a good teacher and would do anything for her students she was the nicest teacher you could ever meet. she is not the type of person to do this but she did have a very ruff relationship with her husband and it just got out of control the night he died thoughts and prayers go out to both family’s (sic).”
Mark Mellor’s funeral was held Oct. 20, with a brief closed casket memorial the following day. In an open invitation on Facebook, a family member wrote, “We will be sharing our loss by celebrating the life of Mark. We will leave behind the how’s and whys and just focus on what a great gift he was to all our lives.”
— Bloomington H.S., family members in shock as teacher charged with husband’s murder —