Darren Smith: California Music Teacher Found Dead Under Mysterious Circumstances Days After He Was Arrested for Sexually Abusing Child

Smith was last seen around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and his surfboard was found washing ashore a few hours later at 1 p.m.

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A California music teacher was found dead, just a day after he was arrested for sexually abusing a child under the age of 14. Darren Smith, 55, of Fairfax, who worked as a music teacher at Mill Valley Middle School, north of San Francisco, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

When the school district authorities became aware of the shocking accusations, they immediately notified the Sheriff's Office and placed Smith on administrative leave. However, within a day, on Wednesday evening, Smith's body was found in the waters near Drakes Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Dead a Day after Facing Damning Accusations

Darren Smith
Darren Smith X

Emergency services were alerted when someone on the shoreline reported a possible surfer who may have been swept out to sea at Point Reyes. Smith was last seen around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and his surfboard was found washing ashore a few hours later at 1 p.m.

Following this discovery, first responders from the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Marin County Fire Department, and the Sonoma and Marin sheriff's offices launched an exhaustive search effort for the man.

At 5:30 p.m., the body, later identified as Smith, was found floating in the ocean. An autopsy and toxicology examination were conducted on Friday to determine the exact cause of Smith's death.

The Sheriff's Office said that the Mill Valley Unified School District had informed them about the allegations and had placed Smith on administrative leave.

Police stated that Smith's arrest followed a thorough investigation into the allegations, including forensic interviews and scrutiny of evidence. Detectives were able to develop probable cause leading to Smith's arrest.

Accident or Suicide Unclear

Child Abuse
Child Abuse (Representational Picture) Pixabay

Smith had been employed by the district since August 2013, teaching music from kindergarten through fifth grade. Prior to that, he worked for 13 years as a music teacher in elementary schools within the Alameda Unified School District.

Upon his arrest, Smith was booked into Marin County Jail on Tuesday, with bail set at $200,000.

The sheriff's office confirmed two known victims in the case but declined to specify whether they were students within the school district.

'The district has zero tolerance for any behavior that compromises the safety or well-being of our students,' district officials said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to Marin County Superior Court records, Smith was expected to face two felony charges of lewd or lascivious acts on a child, along with one misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child.

Elizabeth Kaufman, the superintendent of the Mill Valley School District, sent a letter to parents on Thursday regarding Smith's passing.

"This loss comes amid unsettling news regarding Mr. Smith's recent arrest, adding a layer of complexity to the emotions we feel," she wrote.

This article was first published on May 6, 2024