Body identified as missing teacher

A body found Sunday behind a grocery store in northwest Las Vegas has been identified as a missing school teacher.

The Clark County coroner's office said Wednesday that Marybeth Franta, 49, died from asphyxiation and ruled the death a homicide.

Franta went missing about 7 p.m. Saturday after driving from her home near Torrey Pines Drive and Flamingo Road. Her body was discovered about 8:20 a.m. Sunday behind the Albertson's store at Craig Road and Tenaya Way.

She was reported missing about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Franta was a science teacher at Molasky Junior High School. She had been a teacher in the Clark County School District since 1993.

"This is very devastating," said Charlene Peterson, a friend of Franta through the Nevada State Horsemen's Association. "Hundreds of people are upset today."

Franta, who rode a chestnut-colored horse named Gabriel, was a former director with the Horsemen's Association. Franta also was an announcer at state horse shows.

"She had a passion for horses and animals," Peterson said. "She was warm, engaging, always ready to help. She loved her children."

Franta had two older children, Peterson said.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at or 702-383-0281. Contact reporter James Haug at or 702-799-2922.