OSBI identifies slain NSU professor

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Updated: 6/04/2013 10:51 pm Published: 6/04/2013 8:40 am

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has identified a woman found dead in her Tahlequah home as 40-year-old Tiffany Renee Maher.

She is a chemistry professor at Northeastern University.

Tahlequah Police say she was found dead in her home last week. Her car, a red 2011 Ford Fiesta was found in the Stonehaven Villas Apartment Complex. FOX23 learned
Tuesday her parents also live in that same apartment complex.

A neighbor who asked not to be identified told FOX23’s Dontaye Carter she was there when the parents identified the vehicle.

“He said that it was his girls car,” said the woman. “Finding out that here family members live here it makes you think it makes you wonder, is that a coincidence that the car was here.”

FOX23 spoke with Maher’s family who asked that we respect their privacy during this time of grieving.

“It’s left a huge hole,” said Jana Green. “So, if anyone has any tips or anything please let law enforcement know.”

She took Maher’s chemistry class at Northeastern state this year.

“As soon as I went in from day 1 she just made us or me feel really comfortable,” said Green. “She was funny she always had jokes.”

Maher’s neighbor Mary Blekmore says the chemistry professor had a love for life that will be missed.

“I couldn’t say anything but good things about her because she was a good teacher. “

OSBI is searching Maher’s car for evidence. Those closest to Maher hope something turns up and fast.

“We miss her and she’s in a better place. She doesn’t have to suffer and I don’t know what she went through a lot and I hope they catch the people that done it to her,” said Blekmore.

Police tell FOX23 they are looking into Maher’s  current and past relationships for any clues that could shed light on what happened.

NSU President Steve Turner released this statement:

"Many of you are aware of reports of the untimely passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Tiffany Maher through media accounts and other means. We have been notified by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that a positive identification has been made.

We are all devastated and heartbroken by these events. Dr. Maher epitomized excellence in teaching and was respected and admired by her students and her colleagues on the Broken Arrow and Tahlequah campuses. She joined the faculty in 2009 and was an Assistant Professor in Chemistry. Recently, Dr. Maher was recognized by the NSU faculty with our highest recognition, the Circle of Excellence Award for teaching. 

On Friday, the NSU Department of Public Safety responded to a call from the chemistry department after it was determined that Dr. Maher had not arrived at an academic conference where she was scheduled to speak. Our officers responded to her home and the Tahlequah Police Department was subsequently contacted. We will continue to support area law enforcement as they conduct the investigation related to the circumstances of her death.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Maher’s mother and father and her extended family. While respecting the family’s privacy, NSU will continue to provide support to them, Dr. Maher’s students and her colleagues as we face the unimaginable tragedy of losing such a gifted instructor and researcher at the age of 38.

Planning is underway for a memorial service to be held late next week on the NSU-Tahlequah campus. The Maher family will establish a scholarship program through the NSU Foundation. 

An official cause of death is pending, but authorities say they're investigating the case as a homicide.

No arrests have been made.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 6/5/2013 11:19 AM
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RIP Ms Maher. Hope they get the slime that committed the crime.
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