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Former teacher at Rochester's Alternative Learning Center murdered in New Orleans

Police in New Orleans are still looking for the suspected killer.

Elizabeth Quackenbush.png
Rochester Alternative Learning Center teachers Kathryn Sloan (left) and Elizabeth Quackenbush built the Green Thumb Initiative after trying to find a way to blend english and science courses together, in a non-typical way.

A former Rochester Alternative Learning Center high school instructor was fatally stabbed Wednesday in New Orleans, and her killer is being sought by police there, according to nola.com in New Orleans.

Liz Quackenbush, 39, was found dead from stab wounds to her head and face in the St. Claude neighborhood of New Orleans. Area media report that police are looking for Preston Higgs, 36, who is believed to be the suspect in the slaying. He faces a count of second-degree murder.

New Orleans police authorities say Higgs lived with Quackenbush and was her boyfriend, nola.com reports.

New Orleans police released Quackenbush's name publicly Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, Higgs remained at large and is believed to be driving a silver Chevrolet Impala with Louisiana license plate reading 357CMM. The Rochester Post Bulletin left calls with the New Orleans Police Department after the close of business Friday, and those calls were not immediately returned.


Quackenbush was reportedly a faculty member of Harmony High School in Bayou St. John, La. She was a graduate of Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

Quackenbush was the subject of several Post Bulletin stories over the years in connection with the Green Thumb Initiative at the ALC. She was a coordinator of the program, which focused on teaching real-world skills through gardening, grant-writing and beekeeping.

New Orleans press reports indicate that Higgs has a criminal record. He was convicted of helping two men steal $1,100 at gunpoint from a gas station customer in Minnesota in 2003. Higgs then went to a nearby liquor store, forced his way into a pregnant woman's car at gunpoint, and forcefully touched her buttocks and genitals until another man ran up and chased Higgs off.

He later pleaded guilty to robbery, criminal sexual conduct and assault. He was imprisoned until his release on Feb. 5, 2018, according to sex offender registration information on him, nola.com reports.

Related Topics: PUBLIC SAFETY
Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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