Body Found in Woods Behind Home of Maine Teacher Who Vanished Overnight: Reports
Jay Westra told NBC that the return of his wife, Kristin Westra, a teacher at Chebeague Island School in Maine, was his focus
According to multiple reports, police searching for missing Maine elementary school teacher Kristin Westra found a body on Friday deep in the woods behind her home, though they did not say whether they believe it is her.
Capt. Craig Smith of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s office told the Portland Press Herald that authorities have suspended their search for Westra as they investigate the body, which he did not indicate was a man or a woman.
The state medical examiner’s office is working to identify the body, the paper reports.
PEOPLE’s call to the sheriff’s office or the medical examiner were not immediately returned.
A Maine elementary school teacher and mother of two who vanished from her home earlier this week appeared anxious and worried, complaining of sleeplessness, on the day she was last seen, according to her husband.
On Wednesday, in an interview with NBC News about the disappearance of wife Kristin Westra, Jay Westra said her return was his focus.
“Kristin, no matter what, come home,” Jay implored, speaking directly to the woman he referred to as the love of his life and a “rock” in their family.
He told NBC that on Sunday morning she “was experiencing what I would call some anxiety and she expressed that she had some sleepless nights and was worried.”
A friend who is a nurse practitioner came to evaluate her and raised no concerns, Jay said, and the rest of the day unfolded as normal.
The couple went to bed about 8 p.m. Sunday. But Kristin, 47-year-old teacher at Chebeague Island School, was gone when Jay awoke on Monday — leaving behind her phone, car and keys at their North Yarmouth residence.
Jay reported her missing soon after.
Authorities have been searching for Kristin since Monday, using drones and a number of canine units. They told PEOPLE that while they were investigating all possible avenues in Kristin’s disappearance, they were not “leaning in [the] direction” of foul play.
According to Kristin’s brother, Eric Rohrbach, investigators have said it’s possible she was not in her right state of mind when she decided to leave for some reason, the Portland Press Herald reports.
Addressing his wife in his NBC interview, Jay said, “There’s nothing — there’s no problem, no embarrassment, no obstacle, that can’t be overcome when you come back.”
“We’ve always taken care of everything, we’ve solved every problem,” he said. “We’re a team, we will be a team, your daughter loves you, your friends love you, your parents love you, your brother and sister-in-law love you, aunts and uncles, everybody wants you back.”
Jay told NBC he could not be sure what his wife may have been wearing when she vanished.
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“I know that the raincoat she usually wears was in her car,” he said. “The only thing that was unusual was the garage door. The back entrance was slightly open, about three inches, and truthfully, that’s something that the latch catches every once in while and the door doesn’t go all the way shut. So that may be a way she left the building. Our front door is noisier, and she may have left the back door, not trying to wake anyone up. She’s a thoughtful person and if we were asleep, she would not want to wake us up.”
Jay, a pediatric oncology nurse, was asked if he thought his wife could have been abducted.
“She is a strong, powerful person and I would’ve heard something,” he said. “I can’t imagine a scenario where somebody would be able to take her from the house without noise and without a fight.”
Jay told NBC that he wants to do everything he can to find his wife — “everything else is secondary.”
“I don’t personally care about my situation right now. My situation is secondary, 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. That’s a non-issue, a non-thought to me, I only have one thought.”
Rohrbach, Kristin’s brother, previously told the Press Herald that his sister — who has a 9-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old stepson — had been dealing with stress both at home and school, as both were undergoing major renovations.
“It’s incredibly surreal. It’s something out of a nightmare,” Rohrbach said, according to the newspaper. “It’s a horrible situation to think that she’s immobilized somewhere in the woods. But there’s a huge party searching for her.”
Jay confirmed in Wednesday’s interview that his wife was not on any medications.
Kristin is described as having brown hair and brown eyes. She weighs around 140 lbs. and stands 5-foot-10-inches tall.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to call the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center at 207-883-2810; choose option 2.