PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A beloved Tempe teacher was found dead inside her own home near 16th Street and Baseline Road on Saturday. Police say she was killed by a former partner, who then took her own life.
Dr. Eileen Yellin recently retired from Tempe Union High School District where she had worked for 26 years. She taught special education and was the advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Tempe High School.
Friends say Yellin's life was brutally taken by someone she once loved.
Yellin, 60, was a mentor, an advocate, and an inspiration to many students -- and recently received a Safe Schools Advisor award. She fought for change within schools -- a leader in the fight against social injustice.
"I hope what it doesn't mean is a loss of hope because Eileen was a unique individual who brought positivity to the table and knew how to work the system and did so with a warm heart," said Madelaine Adelman of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
On Saturday morning, Yellin's body was discovered inside her south Phoenix home. Police say she was apparently beaten to death. Neighbors are left saddened and stunned.
"You feel for the people. You feel for someone's life has been taken, especially a teacher, someone who's loved by the community -- for no reason," said Joseph Kern.
Police believe Yellin is likely the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-partner, 68-year-old Cathleen Baker, who took her own life at her home in Ahwatukee. Police found evidence of the killing inside Baker's home. The two had taken out restraining orders against each other.
"It was an intimate relationship that had broken and it fits a pattern. Unfortunately, with an escalation of violence after a break up," said Adelman. "We wish her family peace and our thoughts are with them."
The investigation is ongoing. The medical examiner is looking into the actual cause of death for both women.