Memorial planned Friday for Jill Grant

PALM DESERT, Calif. - A public memorial service is scheduled Friday for a 41-year-old Palm Desert High School math teacher who was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend.

The memorial for Jill Thomas Grant is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in the Palm Desert High School gym. Counselors will be available for students and staff when school resumes Monday after the holiday break.

Grant's body was discovered near Golf Center Parkway and Avenue 42 in Indio on Dec. 23, and 42-year-old Michael John Franco was arrested in Palm Desert the following day.

Grant grew up in the Santa Rosa Mountains above Palm Springs and attended Palm Desert Middle School and Palm Desert High School, graduating in 1990.

She attended College of the Desert, then transferred to Cal State San Bernardino, where she majored in mathematics. She taught math at Palm Springs High School for three years, starting in 1995, and began teaching at her alma mater in 1998.

Investigators found evidence at Grant's residence in the 84-400 block of Onda Drive in Indio that allegedly linked her boyfriend to her death, according to Indio Police Department spokesman Ben Guitron.

Franco was arrested Christmas Eve in a car in the 47200 block of Heliotrope Drive in Palm Desert by police who tracked him through his cell phone, Guitron said.

Franco pleaded not guilty on Dec. 27 to murder and one felony count each of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm, along with sentence-enhancing allegations of using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.

The criminal complaint lists a Toyota Prius and a box cutter as weapons used in the killing.

Franco is being held in lieu of $5 million bail and is due back in court Monday for a felony settlement conference.

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