Virgin Mary candles, a teddy bear and a physics textbook mark the crime scene at Washington Avenue and Betty Lane where Eldorado High School science teacher Timothy VanDerbosch was assaulted in a robbery Wednesday and then struck by a passing car.
Early Monday, about 400 students, family members and friends walked past the memorial to the teacher as they retraced the route that VanDerbosch always took to work.
The predawn march and vigil culminated with a short program outside Eldorado, during which the teacher's Midwestern siblings thanked the participants.
"When we got the news back in Indiana (and) Ohio, we were devastated, felt totally alone. To come out here and see this outpouring of love and compassion, you don't know what that means to us," said brother Terry VanDerbosch, 62.
"While we don't see Tim anymore, his spirit walks up and down this street and fills every nook and cranny of this high school. We love each and every one of you."
Timothy VanDerbosch, 50, taught at Eldorado for 15 years. He lived a mile from the northeast Las Vegas school at the Maravilla Apartments near Nellis Boulevard and Washington Avenue. The teacher, who was attacked while walking to the school at 1139 Linn Lane, never owned a car in Las Vegas because he loved to walk so much. VanDerbosch died Wednesday at University Medical Center.
"He lived in the neighborhood, shopped in the neighborhood, did all his stuff in the neighborhood," said friend and fellow science teacher Gerald Pentsil. "He was a very independent-thinking person."
VanDerbosch was described as the consummate teacher, often skipping lunch to help students and colleagues with science questions.
As his siblings clean out his apartment, his sister, Lori Delosreyes, said they're finding a lot of transparencies used for overhead projectors, textbooks and Sharpies.
Cathy Fletcher, Eldorado's science department chairwoman, said VanDerbosch's control of the classroom was legendary.
"Even when he was not there, students stayed seated when the bell rang, waiting to be dismissed," she said.
Alex Bayless, 25, a 2004 Eldorado graduate, recalled that on the first day of class, VanDerbosch "laid down the law. We were afraid of this man."
"It was all in the voice. There was an intensity in his eyes," Bayless said. "He let you know who was in charge like a teacher is supposed to do."
But "you never saw that (side of him) again unless you became a disciplinary problem."
Patience Jensen, 17, an Eldorado senior, said VanDerbosch "was an amazing teacher.
"He came to school every day passionate and excited about what he did. He was the kind of teacher you wanted to please."
His siblings plan to take VanDerbosch's ashes back to his northeastern Indiana hometown of Garrett, north of Fort Wayne.
A memorial service in Indiana will be held sometime next week. The Thomas Funeral Home in Garrett is handling arrangements, Terry VanDerbosch said.
The death and robbery remain under investigation by Las Vegas police.
Investigators think VanDerbosch was running from his attackers when he was accidentally hit by a car. The driver of the car will not be charged.
VanDerbosch was one of several victims in an early morning crime spree carried out by assailants who targeted seven to 10 people in violent robberies in the northeast valley, police said.
Authorities are seeking the owner or driver of a white Nissan, possibly a four-door sedan.
Police urge anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 828-3521, or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.
Barbara Miller, who lives near Eldorado, has become too afraid to walk the streets.
Like VanDerbosch, Miller preferred to walk to work. She is an instructional aide at Keller Elementary School, 5445 Cedar Ave., near Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue.
"The joke with me was that I was a streetwalker because I love walking. Now I can't," Miller said. "Ironically, my husband went and bought me a treadmill."
Contact reporter James Haug at email@example.com or 702-374-7917.