CLYMER - Keith Reed Jr., Clymer Central School superintendent, has been found dead on his property outside his home.
According to Joe Gerace, Chautauqua County Sheriff, Reed was reported missing Sunday night by colleagues and friends. Deputies went to Reed's home Sunday night but were unable to find Reed. Early Monday morning, Sheriff's deputies returned to the home with a K-9 unit and, after a short search, discovered Reed's body about 100 feet from his house.
Gerace said it is believed Reed, 51, was the victim of a homicide. An autopsy is scheduled for today to officially determine the cause of death, but when Reed's body was found, deputies noted multiple gunshot wounds. It is believed Reed lived alone at the time of the murder.
City of Jamestown and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department officials were among the many agencies who responded to the home of Clymer superintendent Keith Reed Jr. on Clymer-Sherman Road on Monday morning to investigate a missing persons report.
P-J photos by Ryan Atkins
Gerace said the Sheriff's Office has no suspects, but the school has been notified and the murder is under investigation. Reed was not known to have any history of trouble.
"A crime like this is very disturbing," said Gerace. "We're going to be working tirelessly until we can get some answers."
Police spent the entire day Monday at the Clymer-Sherman Road home investigating the crime. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley was also at the scene Monday afternoon. Foley said that the missing persons report was called in after friends became concerned when Reed failed to appear at a conference.
"I got the call at 11 o'clock this morning," Foley said. "It's a suspicious sort of situation so I came out here immediately. Something like this is very unusual for Clymer and I'm hoping we'll be able to provide some answers for the community."
According to Foley, the District Attorney's Office was called to the scene in order to assist the Sheriff's Office with the investigation, as well as determine if there is any need for warrants.
The FBI was also called to the scene to assist with the investigation.
"We know that he was seen late Friday afternoon," said Foley. "We're going to be having a meeting tomorrow morning to regroup. This is a small, tight-knit community and I'm sure that something like this will hit the area hard."
Anyone with information about the case can call the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office at 753-2131 or the District Attorney's Office at 753-4241.
A TOWN'S REACTION
Clymer teachers were called into a faculty meeting at 7:20 a.m. Monday and given the news Reed was missing. Another faculty meeting was called at 10:30 a.m., and teachers were told Reed was found dead. Directly after teachers were informed, students were brought into the school's gymnasium and given the news. A school board meeting, a pep rally and a girls' volleyball game scheduled for Monday were cancelled.
Clymer Central School posted a statement on its website late Monday afternoon.
"We became concerned that the superintendent was missing after he did not immediately return phone calls as he typically does," the statement read. "We express our deepest sympathies to his family and close friends. Grief counselors will be available to assist faculty, students and parents throughout the week. This unfortunate matter is being handled by the Sheriff's Department and further communications will come from their office.'
Clymer residents said Reed was a likeable person who did a lot of good for the school district.
"We just can't understand it," said a clerk at Necker's Grocery in Clymer. "He was nice and good at what he did. It just doesn't make any sense."
Ed Bailey, a Clymer Central School principal said people in Clymer are "deeply saddened by this tragedy."
"He was well liked by everybody," said Bailey, who told the Associated Press he was shocked by the news. "All would say he's been a great superintendent."
'WHAT HE WANTED TO DO'
The Clymer Central School Board of Education conducted an extensive search for an individual to replace Scott Smith, who resigned to take a position as superintendent of schools for the Cassadaga Valley Central School District in July 2011. Reed was hired in Clymer in November 2011.
Reed earned his bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University; his masters degree in educational administration from Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pa., and is enrolled in the Superintendent Development Program through Oswego State University. He began his career as a business and distributive education teacher at Horseheads Central School in 1984. In 1995, Reed was appointed as the intervention specialist for Horseheads High School. In April 1997, Reed was appointed to the position of assistant principal at the Campbell Savona Middle/High School before returning to Horseheads in August 2000 as an assistant high school principal. In August 2005, he was appointed high school principal for the Sherburne-Earlville Central School District in Sherburne.
"I hired Keith,'' said Galye Hellert, Sherburn-Earlville Central School superintendent. "He and I worked together that entire time. He was very excited to accept the superintendent position in Clymer. That was what he wanted to do next in his life."
According to the Norwich Evening Sun, Reed was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in August 2008. Students forwarded Reed text messages of support and wrote well wishes on a poster. He was put into an induced coma that was supposed to last for 10 days but ended up lasting more than four weeks. During his stay in intensive care, Reed said he flatlined nine times. He had more than 20 surgeries after the accident and countless hours of physical therapy. He returned to work full-time in September 2009 before leaving the district for the position in Clymer nearly two years later.
"I'm a different person than I was before," Reed told the Evening Sun in April 2010. "You gain a new life appreciation. Something like this can hurt and it changes you. You can focus on the pain every day or let it remind you that you made it."