NEW ORLEANS- "It's still a shocker. It still hasn't 100 percent hit me yet," Romell Smith said.

Romell Smith is trying to face the reality that his former student, 22-year-old Peter Oatis is gone.

"To me, there's a good chance that the people who even did this don't even realize what they've done," Smith said.

Even as a student, Smith knew Oatis had a bright future.

"I can't recall a time from when he was in my class of him being negative. He always looked at things from a more positive standpoint," Smith said.

The Orleans Parish Coroner identified him this morning.

Oatis' aunt reported him missing after he left her home Wednesday. She told police Oatis was going to pick up dinner before heading to his house.

She said she tried contacting him several times the next day, but he never picked up the phone.

His boss also told police Oatis never showed up for work.

Smith said Oatis was dedicated to education, shadowing teachers for hours last school year at Landry Walker. Oatis's dream eventually came true. He began teaching this year at George Washington Carver.

"He wasn't going in there with the sentiment of complaining. He was actually going in there and challenging those kids to go higher, to push harder. And I remember telling him, don't stop," Smith said.

Smith is now pleading with whoever killed his former student to own up to their crime.

"I need them to know, that it was them and many others that, he (Oatis) hoped to deter from being in such a lifestyle. That they took away."