UPDATE: 5:05 p.m. ― Authorities have confirmed that a body has been found near Kristin Westra’s home, but they have not yet said whether it is her. The discovery was made in a wooded area. It’s also not clear who made the discovery ― whether it was the police or someone else.
Police searching for a missing Maine schoolteacher roped off a house near where she lived on Friday, days into an intensive search.
Crime scene tape surrounded the small house, about a half-mile from Kristin Westra’s home in North Yarmouth, and there was “a large police presence,” according to ABC affiliate WMTW-8. It wasn’t immediately clear whether investigators had discovered anything.
Westra, 47, disappeared from her home Sunday night, according to her husband, and had been anxious and sleepless.
Searchers estimated they cleared a 1.5-mile wooded area near her home without finding a trace. Police said earlier there was no indication of foul play, but they wouldn’t rule it out.
“We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t always keep that on the table,” Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Scott Stewart told the Portland Press Herald.
Westra “was experiencing what I would call some anxiety and she expressed that she had some sleepless nights and was worried” in the hours before she disappeared, her husband, Jay Westra, told NBC News.
Earlier Sunday, she saw a nurse practitioner for a “safety assessment” and was judged “not at risk for any harm to herself or anybody else,” Jay Westra said. “She made plans with a nurse practitioner, her sister-in-law, to have the labs drawn on Monday.”
Jay Westra told police he and his wife went to bed after dinner Sunday night and that’s the last time he saw her.
Relatives described her as a dedicated and dependable elementary school teacher who would not just leave her husband and two children.
She is the “last person that would do something like this,” her brother, Eric Rohrbach, told ABC News. “This is very abnormal.”
Her husband said she was gone when he awoke after 6 a.m. on Monday.
“Because she’s a communicator, we don’t go a day without texting or calling,” Westra’s best friend and co-worker, Tammy Drew-Hoidal, told WGME-TV. “The fact that that happened, I just felt sick.”
Kristin Westra teaches grades 3 to 5 at Chebeague Island School. It’s a small school, with only about 25 students, saidDrew-Hoidal, who teaches kindergarten through second grade.
According to her husband, Kristin Westra was restless when they went to bed Sunday night. He told police he remembers waking at 3:30 a.m. and finding she wasn’t in bed, but assumed she’d gone into another room.
“At 6:20, I woke up as sort of our usual schedule,” Jay Westra told NBC News. “My daughter was up, she was getting herself ready for school. I showered. Didn’t want to wake Kristin because I thought possibly she was asleep in the next room. And then after my shower, I walked by it, did not see her, panicked slightly.”
Kristin Westra wasn’t anywhere in the house. Her husband said she left without her car, purse or cellphone.
Jay Westra told police searched the neighborhood for his wife, an avid runner, then contacted the sheriff’s office and reported her missing.
Authorities said they investigated more than 100 tips.
Jay Westra told WCSH-TV he is cooperating with police and isn’t concerned with what people might think or say.
“My feelings are secondary,” he said. “My primary thing is the return of Kristin to me and her family … I don’t care what people think. I don’t care what people gossip.”
Kristin Westra is described as a white female, with brown hair and brown eyes. She weighs about 140 pounds and is 5 feet 10 inches tall. Police said they are not sure what she was wearing at the time of her disappearance.
A prayer vigil is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at the Congregational Church in Cumberland.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center at 207-883-2810, Option 2.